Egypt: Arbitrary detention of Mr. Ramy Kamel
EGY 010 / 1119 / OBS 100
Arbitrary detention /
November 29, 2019
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Egypt.
Description of the situation:
The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Mr. Ramy Kamel, a defender of religious minorities’ rights. He is a member of the Maspero Youth Union (MYU) , a Coptic human rights organisation.
According to the information received, in the early morning of November 23, 2019, Mr. Ramy Kamel was arrested at his home in Cairo by seven plainclothes police officers. Police officers did not provide an arrest warrant, confiscated his mobile phone, laptop and camera and took a number of documents relating to his work. Mr. Kamel was interrogated by State Security Prosecution until 10 pm. and his lawyer was only able to see him the next day, on November 24. He was reportedly subjected to torture and ill-treatment. Mr. Ramy Kamel has asthma and was not allowed to bring his inhaler. Mr. Ramy Kamel is accused of “joining a terror group”, “receiving foreign funding”, “funding a terrorist group”, “broadcasting false information”, and “using social media for the purpose of committing a crime”, under State Security Case No. 1475/2019. On November 24, Mr. Kamel was put under pre-trial detention at Tora prison, south-east Cairo, for 15 renewable days.
Mr. Ramy Kamel has a wide range of activism in promoting Coptic rights and citizenship, including reporting on violations against Copts in Egypt , especially those who were forcibly evicted from their homes, or victims of customary reconciliation sessions, and recently he expressed doubts about whether State security was behind the recent church fires or not. A few days before his arrest, Mr. Ramy Kamel had already been informally summoned and interrogated by national security officers, who questioned and threatened him over his activism.
The Observatory recalls that the arbitrary detention of Mr. Ramy Kamel comes amid renewed crackdown on human rights defenders, activists, journalists and civil society in Egypt, that arose since the outbreak of popular protests across the country on September 20, 2019, calling for the resignation of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi .
The Observatory condemns the arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Mr. Ramy Kamel, which seem to be only aimed at punishing him for his legitimate human rights activities. The Observatory urges the Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Ramy Kamel, and to put an end to any act of harassment, including at the judicial level, against him and all the human rights defenders in Egypt.
Please write to the authorities of Egypt asking them to:
i. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Mr. Ramy Kamel as well as of all human rights defenders in Egypt;
ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Ramy Kamel and all the human rights defenders arbitrarily detained in Egypt, as their detention is arbitrary since it only seems to aim at punishing them for their human rights activities;
iii. Guarantee the unhindered access of Mr. Ramy Kamel to medical assistance, a lawyer of his choice and his family members;
iv. Carry out a transparent, impartial, immediate and thorough investigation into the above-mentioned allegations of torture in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before an independent tribunal, and sanction them as provided by the law;
v. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Ramy Kamel, as well as against all human rights defenders in Egypt, and ensure that they are able to carry out their activities without hindrance;
vi. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially its Articles 1 and 12.2; and
vii. More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Egypt.
• Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohamed Hossam Abdel-Rahim, Fax: +202 2795 8103
• Public Prosecutor, Counsellor Nabeel Sadek, Fax: +202 2577 4716
Please also write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of Egypt in your respective country.
Paris-Geneva, November 29, 2019
Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.
To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
• Tel and fax FIDH + 33 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
• Tel and fax OMCT + 41 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
 MYU was established after a church on the outskirts of Cairo was torched, igniting huge protests outside the Maspero state television building in October 2011. Nearly 30 people died after violent attacks against protesters from the security forces.
 Christians in Egypt have faced unprecedented persecution since the rise of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to power in 2014. Hundreds of them have been forced to flee from their home, for example in northern Sinai.
 See for example Observatory Urgent Appeals EGY 006 / 1019 / OBS 079, published on October 15, 2019 ; EGY 004 / 0919 / OBS 075.2, published on October 10, 2019 ; EGY 005 / 0919 / OBS 076.1, published on October 4, 2019 ; or EGY 003 / 0919 / OBS 074, published on September 23, 2019.