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03/31/2020 Egypt (International Christian Concern) – Egypt has responded to pressure about releasing unjustly held prisoners by freeing 15 prominent opposition activists, while thousands more linger in jail. Pressure to release these prisoners have increased because of the spread of coronavirus. Egypt’s prisons are highly unsanitary and offer the foundation for spreading the pandemics outbreak. Meanwhile, the situation of two Christian prisoners during this crisis shows Egypt’s discrimination towards religious minorities across all levels of government.

Abd Adel Bebawy was arrested in July 2018 and later convicted of blasphemy charges. He was supposed to have been released from prison in January 2020. However, Egyptian authorities refuse to release Bebawy despite having served his sentence. They cite security concerns in his home village, although Bebawy and his family have no desire of returning home. His prison sentence was extended for another 6 months. He is being held in a prison far from home and incarcerated with extremists.

Ramy Kamal, a Christian human rights activist, was arrested in November 2019. Authorities charged him with “joining and financing a terrorist group.” However, the case has barely moved forward. Kamal was beaten during his initial interrogation and questioned without a lawyer present. He remains in jail where he reportedly is experiencing poor health.

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