12/03/2019 Egypt (International Christian Concern) – New details regarding the November 23rd arrest of Coptic Christian Ramy Kamel highlight the depth which human rights activism is deteriorating within Egypt. The State Security Prosecutor has charged Ramy with joining and financing a terrorist group under case #1475 of 2019. Other charges are also pending.
Just over two weeks prior to his arrest, Ramy was summoned by the National Security Agency, where he was violently intimidated in an effort to keep him from speaking about Coptic Christian issues on social media. Ramy had specifically posted about sectarian violence facing Christians, as well as the violent targeting of churches. He was arrested just days before he was scheduled to participate in the United Nation’s Forum on Minority Issues. He was also present during a UN visit in 2018, the first time that the UN was granted permission to visit Egypt in almost a decade.
Egypt has a history of pursuing state-sanctioned reprisal attacks against those who collaborate with the UN. However, even the arrest of a Christian based on terrorism charges is a worrying new level. He is the second Christian activist to be arrested based on terrorism charges. The first, Andrew Wassef, was sentenced to five years imprisonment.
False terrorism charges have become the government’s defense mechanism against any who choose to challenge their authoritarian rule. Christians, already suffering the consequences of living as a religious minority in an officially Islamic country, are generally finding it increasingly difficult to speak freely about the challenges they face.
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