Jailed activist leaves Egypt after renouncing nationality

Jailed BDS activist leaves Egypt for France after renouncing nationality
2 min read
Egyptian-Palestinian activist Ramy Shaath, who was in detention for over 900 days, is now headed for France after being forced to renounce his Egyptian nationality.
Ramy Shaath was detained for over 900 days in Egypt [Social Media]

Egyptian-Palestinian activist Ramy Shaath was headed for France on Saturday after almost two and a half years in detention in Egypt, his family said, adding that he had to renounce his Egyptian nationality.

The 48-year-old was a figure of the 2011 uprising in Egypt and the coordinator of the Egyptian chapter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.

The son of veteran Palestinian politician Nabil Shaath "is now on his way to Paris", the family said in a statement on Saturday, adding that they were "relieved and overjoyed" at his release after 900 days of "arbitrary detention" by the Egyptians.

However, "we regret that they forced Ramy to renounce his Egyptian citizenship as a precondition for his release that should have been unconditional after two and a half years of unjust detention under inhumane conditions," the family said.

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

He was released on Thursday evening. The Egyptian authorities later handed Shaath over to a representative of the Palestinian Authority at Cairo airport, where he took a flight to Amman, the Jordanian capital, before heading onward to Paris, his family said.

Shaath's wife, French national Celine Lebrun, was deported from Egypt shortly after her husband's arrest in July 2019 on charges of aiding a terrorist organisation.

In April 2020, he was placed on Egypt's terror list alongside 12 other people.

In December, five human rights groups called on French President Emmanuel Macron to pressure Egypt to release Shaath.

Macron had previously addressed his detention in a news conference in Paris with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in December 2020.

Egypt's space for dissent has been severely restricted since Sisi took office in 2014.

Rights groups say Egypt is holding some 60,000 political prisoners, many facing brutal conditions and overcrowded cells.

Egypt ranks in the lowest group on the Global Public Policy Institute's Academic Freedom Index.