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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_custom_heading text=”By Claire Evans” font_container=”tag:h6|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1582213428377{margin-bottom: 22px !important;}”][vc_single_image image=”96227″ img_size=”full” add_caption=”yes” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]03/13/2020 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – In Egypt, the word “detention” often inspires images of filthy jail cells and inhumane treatment, including torture. It evokes a sense of mis­placement as one disappears within a labyrinth of government bureau­cracy hiding the truth behind a person’s detainment.

Questions linger in the minds of prisoners. Where am I? Why am I here? For how long? What is com­ing next? Who sent me here?

Different questions swirl in the minds of the Egyptian authorities. If the pris­oner is an activist, the government seems dedicated to silencing their voices in what­ever way possible. Neither innocence nor human dignity matter.

This kind of environment influences Egypt’s Christian community, especially if they wish to speak about the issues specific to the Church. The case of Ramy Kamel, a Christian activist, serves as a warning from the government to other believers: keep quiet.

This past November, in the early morn­ing hours, seven plainclothes police officers entered Ramy’s home in Cairo. They led him away to prison, where he was interrogated until 10 p.m. that night. He was tortured. At the time of writing, he remains incarcerated. There was no arrest warrant. No defense law­yer was present during his first interrogation. The charges are an example of the govern­ment’s imagination.

The first charge is that Ramy was broadcast­ing false information. He had simply shared videos relating to how churches in Egypt are often targeted by mobs of violent extremists.

The second charge is that he received foreign funding. He had worked with the United Nations Forum on Minority Issues. He had planned to attend a conference in Geneva to speak about the challenges faced by Christians in Egypt.

The third charge accused Ramy of joining a terrorist group. But he was only the founder of a civil rights group known as the Maspero Youth Union, named after the Maspero mas­sacre of Christians nine years ago.

The charges are ludicrous, but Egypt remains insistent that Ramy is guilty. His treatment while imprisoned, and Egypt’s bla­tant disregard for justice, has drawn interna­tional condemnation.

“The treatment that he is being subjected to cannot be justified under any circum­stance,” said the United Nations in a state­ment. “Egypt must immediately free Mr. Kamel, lift all charges against him, and conduct effective investigations to ensure that those responsible for the violations, including any act of torture, or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punish­ment, are prosecuted and punished.”

“USCIRF is deeply alarmed by the arrest of Coptic activist Ramy Kamel and appar­ent renewed crackdown on activists and journalists. Egypt must release all such detainees and fulfill its claims of reform and step towards religious freedom,” stat­ed the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Egypt’s government hoped that Ramy’s case would be forgotten by the world, lost to memory like so many others. Sometimes, “it takes a lot to fully identify with [the persecut­ed’s] struggles,” sympathized one Egyptian pastor. But he encouraged us to not neglect this suffering. “Complacency is very danger­ous to the life of any church, whether it is in the free world or in the parts which are against the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

As long as Ramy remains in prison, as long as Christians continue to suffer in Egypt, their plight will not be forgotten.

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