UN, USCIRF Call for Release of Coptic Christian Activist Jailed on ‘Preposterous Charges’ in Egypt

Coptic activist Ramy Kamel | Coptic Solidarity

The international community is condemning Egypt’s imprisonment of a prominent Coptic Christian activist who they say has been jailed on “preposterous charges” despite the government’s promises to promote religious coexistence. 

Activist Ramy Kamel was arrested from his home in late November by seven plainclothes police officers. According to media reports, Kamel was questioned and accused of not only joining a terror group but also broadcasting false information and receiving foreign funding.

Kamel is a prominent member of the Maspero Youth Union, an activist group fighting for equality and civil rights for the long-persecuted Coptic community in Egypt. The organization formed in the wake of weeks for protest in 2011 against the Mubarak government.

Kamel has also written on the mistreatment of Copts in Egypt as well as their displacement from homes by the Egyptian government, according to the nonprofit watchdog group Coptic Solidarity.

“These shocking if not absurd charges appear to be designed to silence Kamel — a leading member and one of the most vocal activists of the Maspero Youth Union,” Coptic Solidarity stressed in a press release. “Kamel is at the forefront of reporting on and sharing footage of the persecution of Copts in Egypt — which many observers believe to be his real crime.”

Security officers are said to have stormed Kamel’s home on Nov. 23 and confiscated his computer, phone, and other items related to his advocacy work. It marked the second time in the month that Kamel had been arrested.

The charges that the Supreme State Security Prosecution announced against Kamel are “spurious,” according to the congressionally mandated commission responsible for promoting religious freedom and making recommendations to the U.S. State Department and White House.

“USCIRF calls on the Egyptian government to immediately release Mr. Kamel from detention and dismiss the preposterous charges against him,” USCIRF Vice Chair Nadine Maenza said in a statement.

“His arrest casts doubt on the sincerity of Egypt’s promises of working toward greater religious freedom,” she added. “Egypt cannot pledge improved rights and freedoms for Copts and other non-Muslim communities, while at the same time bringing false charges against its own citizens who are advocating for those same reforms.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith