After 900 days in Egyptian prisons, Ramy Shaath calls for the release of thousands of lesser-known detainees
Cairo – The Egyptian-Palestinian political activist Ramy Shaath described Egypt as a “banana republic based on fear” under the rule of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, in an interview published yesterday, Wednesday, by the French newspaper Le Monde, following his arrival in Paris on January 8 After more than 900 days in prison.
Ramy, the son of the famous Palestinian minister and negotiator, Nabil Shaath, was arrested between July 2019 and January 2022, and according to his family, he was forced to renounce his Egyptian citizenship for his release.
Shaath told the French newspaper that he was being held with 1,800 prisoners, “none of whom were arrested for violent crimes,” but “all of them are there on the basis of opinion cases.”
While in the early days the prisoners were divided between “revolutionary activists,” “NGO activists,” “ordinary people with no particular political affiliation,” and “Islamist sympathizers,” “the nature of the prisoners began to change since 2020.. People Those who do not have a political past, and who are arrested completely arbitrarily, have become the majority,” according to the Palestinian activist.
He referred to a surgeon who was arrested because one of his sons was chanting a song at school that included a nickname given by the opposition to President Sisi, and a taxi driver imprisoned for a year and a half on charges of “complaining about the high fuel prices.” Shaath considered that “the message of the authority is simple: If you open your mouth, you are finished. Egypt is a banana republic based on fear.”
Ramy Shaath is one of the faces of the January 25, 2011 revolution that toppled the late President Hosni Mubarak after 3 decades in power, and he is also the coordinator in Egypt of the BDS movement that calls for the withdrawal of investments and the imposition of sanctions on Israel to end its occupation for the Palestinian territories.
He explained that he was accused of participating in a terrorist organization without identifying the organization, stressing that he was imprisoned because of his political struggle, and that he lived for two and a half years in a crowded room of 23 square meters with dilapidated walls and a simple blanket to sleep and a hole in the floor as a toilet and a shower with cold water, but He was not subjected to physical torture.
He added that France played a major role in his release, but that it could and should do more than hand over lists of imprisoned figures to the Egyptian authorities.
“There are thousands of other, less well-known detainees…but they equally deserve to be released from prison, regardless of their political leanings,” he added.