French MPs demand that Sisi release Ramy Shaath

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More than 180 French lawmakers have called on Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to release Egyptian-Palestinian human rights activist Ramy Shaath.

The appeal came in an open letter to Sisi signed by elected French members of local, national, and European representative councils. The deputies who signed the letter expressed their deep concern about the human rights violations practiced by the Sisi regime and the continued detention of thousands of prisoners of conscience in Egypt.

They expressed their concern in particular over the fate of Ramy Shaath, who is married to a French woman Celine Lebrun Shaath, and has been imprisoned in Egypt for nearly two years. They stated that on July 5, this prominent human rights defender would have spent two years in pretrial detention without trial. They called on the Egyptian president to intervene to facilitate the immediate and unconditional release of Shaath and reunite this French and Egyptian family.

Rights activist Rami Shaath, 48, is Nabil Shaath’s son. Nabil is currently the advisor to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on foreign affairs and international relations. Egyptian authorities arrested him at his residence in Cairo about two years ago, as part of a well-known case in the media, the Hope Cell, while his wife Celine spearheads an international campaign for his release.

In conjunction with the demands of the French deputies, the international human rights organisation Democracy Now for the Arab World called on the Egyptian authorities to release a detained academic. This demand came in a statement it issued, on the occasion of the one-year anniversary of the arrest of university professor Ahmed Tohamy, for his publication of writings on pro-democracy movements in the country.

The organisation said that Tohamy’s continued detention “comes in the context of an unprecedented crackdown on journalists, intellectuals, activists and political opponents by the Egyptian government.” The organisation confirmed that it had documented how the Egyptian judicial authorities arbitrarily detained Tohamy and deprived him of basic due process rights as punishment for his academic research.