Celine Lebrun-Shaath, wife of detained Egyptian-Palestinian politician Ramy Shaath, has written an impassioned letter to her husband on their wedding anniversary which has been published in Mada Masr.
“We have tried everything to be able to speak or write to each other, but they refused, so I hope this letter reaches you.”
“I know that you are upset because you are not here with me. You would have wanted to make this anniversary as unforgettable as our wedding — as you do so well with everything you do. I want to hold you and tell you not to blame yourself.”
“They arrested you because you dared to be proudly Egyptian and Palestinian. You dared to resist the iron curtain that has been falling over Egypt, crushing the aspirations of its disillusioned, revolutionary youth. You dared to oppose Egyptian participation in the Israeli-American conference in Manama. To resist the selling-off of your people’s right to self-determination,” she wrote.
Ramy has been held since 5 July under the Hope Alliance case and has been accused of assisting a terror group, though in a statement after his arrest the Shaath family said that Ramy vocally expressed his opposition to the US peace plan dubbed the “deal of the century” and Egyptian participation in the Bahrain conference, which they fear is the real reason behind his arrest.
General Coordinator of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, Mahmoud Nawageh, has said the Egyptian government has tried to silence criticism of its policy of normalisation with Israel through Ramy’s arrest.
In 2015 Ramy, a former adviser of Yasser Arafat and son of the advisor for Foreign Affairs to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Dr Nabil Shaath, co-founded the BDS movement in Egypt and has been outspoken about the Israeli occupation.
At the beginning of July security forces entered Ramy’s apartment and took him away in a van. Celine was driven to the airport and deported to France.
“Saying goodbye to you, without knowing when I would see you again, was the hardest thing I ever did. ‘Let’s go! Let’s go!’ they urged us. Before you disappeared into the van on that dark night, I took a last mental snapshot of you, your face, your eyes.”
“My life is now punctuated by your days of court appearances and prison visits, the sole opportunities for me to know, through your family or lawyers, how you are doing and to let you know I am alright,” she continues.
Ramy is being held in the notorious Tora prison in a 30 square metre cell Celine describes as “narrow and stuffy” and is only allowed out for one hour a day. His family, who are allowed to visit him once a week for 20 minutes, are concerned for his health because he suffers from high cholesterol.
Amnesty International has called for Ramy’s immediate and unconditional release, as has his wife: “I cannot give you anything for our anniversary but I promise you I will fight to get back what has been taken away from you – your freedom.”