Tue. Jan 18th, 2022

Judicial sources say Egyptian-Palestinian political fighter, detained for nearly 30 months, will be deported to France with his release.

Prosecutors in Egypt have ordered the release of Egyptian-Palestinian political activist Ramy Shaath, after nearly 30 months in detention, according to reports citing judicial and security sources.

The 50-year-old, the son of veteran Palestinian politician Nabil Shaath, was a figure in the 2011 uprising in Egypt and the coordinator of the Egyptian division of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. He was arrested in 2019 and faced charges of aiding a “terrorist” organization.

Late Monday, the Reuters news agency quoted four legal and security sources as saying that proceedings to release Shaath from custody are ongoing. Two of the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the activist would be deported to France with his release.

His wife, French citizen Celine Lebrun, told AFP news agency: “I have heard of the decision, but as far as I know he is not out yet.”

Lebrun, who was deported from Egypt shortly after her husband’s arrest, said she would release a statement as soon as his release was confirmed.

There were no immediate comments from the Free Ramy Shaath campaign.

Earlier Monday, prominent MP Mohamed Anwar Sadat also announced that he had made a “threatening decision to release Shaath” and deport him.

More than a month after Ramy Shaath was evicted from his home in Cairo on July 5, 2019, Nabil Shaath said the arrest is related to his son’s activism in the BDS movement, as well as his criticism of Egypt’s participation in a United States-led economic workshop in Bahrain, which at the time was considered the first part of a controversial plan by the then US administration to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In April 2020, Shaath, along with 12 other people, was placed on Egypt’s “terror” list.

In December, five human rights groups called on French President Emmanuel Macron to press Egypt to release Shaath.

Macron previously addressed his detention at a news conference in Paris with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in December 2020.

Egypt’s room for disagreement has been severely limited since el-Sisi – a former army chief who became president in 2014 after leading the military removal of President Mohamed Morsi a year earlier – took office.

Human rights groups say Egypt is holding some 60,000 political prisoners, many of whom face cruel conditions and overcrowded cells.

Egypt is in the lowest group on the Global Public Policy Institute’s Academic Freedom Index.

The reported order release Shaath comes almost a month after a Egyptian court releases researcher Patrick Zaki whose detention in 2020 provoked international condemnation.

Zaki was released on December 7, but still stood trial on charges of “spreading false news”, “damaging national security” and “inciting the state to overthrow”, among others.

Amnesty International earlier said Zaki was allegedly tortured while being questioned by national security officials, including the use of electric shocks and beatings.

In a 2019 interview with the program 60 Minutes on the American broadcaster CBS, el-Sisi said there are no political prisoners in Egypt.

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