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Egypt extends detention of Shaath’s son by 15 days

Egyptian-Palestinian politician Ramy Shaath [Facebook]
Egyptian-Palestinian politician Rami Shaath [Facebook]

Egypt’s Public Prosecution has ordered that Ramy Shaath, the son of former Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath, be remanded in custody for a further 15 days pending investigation.

In a case known in the media as the “Cell of Hope,” Shaath is accused of joining an illegally-formed group and trying to prevent state institutions from carrying out their work. The case includes a number of other figures who are being held in pre-trial custody, including Ziad El-Elaimy, Hossam Mounis, Hisham Fouad and others, according to Youm7.

The family of Palestinian-Egyptian Ramy Shaath, son of Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Executive Committee member Nabil Shaath, confirmed that the Egyptian security authorities had arrested him on 5 July and that he is still being detained.

Ramy’s wife Celine said that he was arrested from his residence in Egyptian capital Cairo and charged with “participating in the realisation of goals of a terrorist association,” without providing further explanation to his lawyers or details of the alleged association.

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Celine – a French national who has been working in Egypt for seven years – told Al Jazeera that there was no material evidence of the charges against her husband, who has been brought to trial every 15 days for more than a month and a half in order to renew his detention.

She pointed out that Ramy has recently been active in drafting statements against the US peace plan for Israel-Palestine, dubbed “the deal of the century”. Her husband has also attended conferences criticising Egypt’s participation in the “Peace to Prosperity” conference held in Bahrain in June, during which the economic portion of the plan was unveiled.

She added, however, that Ramy has worked as a coordinator of the Egyptian branch of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for years without being pursued by the authorities.

Celine said that the Egyptian authorities deported her to France immediately after the arrest of her husband, despite her remaining in Egypt legally for seven years. Though she contacted the French consulate in order to understand the reason for her deportation, she did not yet receive any justification.

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Discussing Ramy’s detention conditions, Celine said that her husband has been held in a narrow cell with a large number of other detainees and deprived of sleep because of the narrowness of the cell. After a month of detention, he was then transferred to a larger cell, where he has been able to sleep. In addition, only immediate family members are allowed to visit him once a week for 20 minutes.

General Coordinator of BDS, Mahmoud Nawageh, said that Ramy’s arrest is an attempt to silence his criticism of the Egyptian government’s policy regarding normalisation with Israel.

Nawageh did not accuse the Egyptian authorities of arresting Shaath in connection with his BDS work, since the exact accusation against him is not yet clear. However, if this is proven, the Palestinian-led movement intends to use its international networks to pressure Egyptian embassies around the world and the Egyptian government to release him.

Activists have created a Facebook page calling on the Egyptian security authorities to release him.

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