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UN experts call on Egypt to remove Ramy Shaath and Zyad El-Elaimy from terror list

Ramy Shaath (L) [AmnestyAR/Twitter, Zyad El-Elaimy (R) [haythamabokhal1/Twitter]
Ramy Shaath (L) [AmnestyAR/Twitter, Zyad El-Elaimy (R) [haythamabokhal1/Twitter]

UN experts have called on the Egyptian authorities to remove Ramy Shaath and Zyad El-Elaimy from their terror list and stop systematically misusing counter-terror powers.

Shaath and El-Elaimy were arrested in June 2019 and their names placed on a terror list in a deliberate targeting of human rights defenders.

They were added to the list in absentia and without their lawyers present. Their families found out through an article in the local newspaper.

Both are being held under pretrial detention in Tora Prison under the Hope Case. Shaath's detention was renewed for the 21st time in 19 months in January.

Shaath is a political and human rights activist and co-founder of the BDS in Egypt and a dual Egyptian-Palestinian citizen.

His pro-Palestinian activism had long provoked the fury of the Egyptian authorities, who eight years ago refused to renew his passport on the grounds that he was Palestinian and not Egyptian.

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Shaath is the son of the former acting Palestinian prime minister Nabil Shaath. Behind the scenes negotiations failed to secure his release.

His wife, Celine Lebrun-Shaath, was illegally deported shortly after his arrest. After a year and a half of forced separation from her husband Egypt authorities finally granted her the right to fly to Cairo on 7 February so she could visit him.

Yesterday, an appeal hearing took place against the decision to place Shaath and El-Elaimy on the terror list in which his lawyer argued that this decision was unfounded.

However, the court's decision was postponed until 10 March.

Human rights lawyer and former parliamentarian Zyad El-Elaimy was arrested shortly before Shaath, over his peaceful political activities.

Both political prisoners were part of the coalition of activists that organised the 2011 protests against the late Hosni Mubarak, who was toppled ten years ago today.

El-Alaimy was accused of the bogus charge of spreading false news to disturb public peace.

"We are deeply concerned about the impact on the rights of Mr. Shaath and Mr. El-Elaimy following this listing last year, including fair process, right to freedom of assembly and association, and the negative impact on their family life, their right to work and their right to participate in public affairs," said the UN experts.

They urged Egyptian authorities to release Shaath and El-Alaimy, who they said have been arbitrarily detained and placed on a terror list without evidence.

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