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Egypt: Detention of Christian activist extended

by Heather Preston
RAMI KAMIL.jpg - Banner image

A Christian activist arrested on terrorist charges has had his detention extended by 15 days following a prison interrogation.

Rami Kamil who is a founding member of the Maspero Youth Union (MYU), a Coptic human rights group was arrested in a police raid of his home in Cairo in November.

It's been reported Kamil will not be released unless he ceases to report on freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) violations.

His lawyers, who were denied access to him during his interrogation, have called for his immediate release due to a lack of evidence against him.

Kamil later appeared before the Supreme State Security Prosecution (SSSP) where he was given 15 days in pre-trial detention. He has been accused of "joining a terrorist organisation, receiving foreign funding, disturbing public order, inciting the public against the state, and using social media to incite sectarian tensions between Muslims and Christians."

In 2011 Kamil took part in the Egyptian revolution, in which millions of protesters demanded the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak's government over issues of civil liberties and freedom of speech.

The MYU was set up after 20 Coptic protesters were killed when the military attacked a peaceful civil rights protest in October 2011.

Christian human rights organisation Christian Solidaritry Worldwide (CSW) has expressed its deep concern for Kamil's extended detention and called on the government to protect FoRB.

CSW's chief executive Mervyn Thomas said: "We urge the Egyptian government to immediately and unconditionally release him and others who are currently detained for advocating for human rights. The charges levelled against Mr Kamil are excessive and his detention lacks transparency. 

"We call upon the Egyptian administration to accelerate efforts to reform and improve the situation of religious freedom in Egypt. Instead of criminalising human rights activists, the Egyptian authorities should focus its efforts and resources on combating extremism and assisting those who have been affected by it."
CSW sources report that his next hearing is scheduled for 19th January.

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