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Egypt releases activist Ramy Shaath after forcing him to renounce nationality

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this image from the Free Ramy Shaath Facebook page, Ramy Shaath poses for a picture on January 2, 2015, in Cairo, Egypt. (Via AP)

Egyptian-Palestinian rights activist Ramy Shaath has been freed after almost two and a half years in pre-trial detention in Egypt, his family say, adding he was forced to renounce his Egyptian nationality.

Shaath’s family said in a statement on Saturday that Ramy was released on Thursday evening and handed to a representative of the Palestinian Authority in Cairo before heading to Jordan.

"If we are glad that the Egyptian authorities heard our call for freedom, we regret that they forced Ramy to renounce his Egyptian citizenship as a precondition for his release that should have been unconditional," the family said.

"No one should have to choose between their freedom and their citizenship," the statement added.

According to his family, Ramy was now on his way to France, home to his French wife.

Ramy, the son of former Palestinian foreign minister Nabil Shaath, and 12 other activists have been imprisoned since 2019 in the Hope coalition case, in which authorities accused them of being funded by the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood to incite uprising and commit violence.

However, colleagues and activists said the detentions were aimed at thwarting the formation of a coalition ahead of the 2020 parliamentary elections.

The 13 people were placed on the terrorism list for a period of five years in April 2020.

In February 2021, a panel of United Nations experts urged the removal of Ramy, and activist and former member of parliament Zyad Elelaimy from the terrorist list.

The government in Cairo has long faced criticism over its human rights record.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who overthrew the democratically-elected government of Mohamed Morsi of Muslim Brotherhood in 2013, has been serving as the president since 2014. 

He has faced international criticism for a crackdown on civil society groups and for crushing any form of dissent against his autocratic rule.


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