Date:                    February 27, 2020




Feb 27, 2020


Egyptian Coptic Christian Ramy Kamel arrested again under false charges.

Around 1:30 AM on November 23, Ramy Kamel was arrested in his home under false charges by Egyptian authorities. Kamel, a Coptic Christian advocate, founded the Maspero Youth Union in 2011 after the infamous Maspero Massacre in which 27 Copts were killed by the Egyptian military while peacefully protesting a church closure.

Mr. Kamel studied law at university and runs his own tailoring shop. He is the breadwinner for his family which includes his elderly mother, a single sister, and a married sister with a disabled husband and two young children.

Just 18 days prior, Kamel had been arrested, beaten and interrogated without legal representation in an effort to compel him to reveal his research sources, and likely to intimidate him prior to his participation at a future UN Forum.

On November 23rd, Kamel’s house was stormed by security forces who confiscated his phone, camera, and laptop and arrested him. Several hours later he was brought to the headquarters of the Supreme State Security Prosecution in Cairo’s Fifth Settlement neighborhood. Kamel was interrogated again without legal representation. Kamel was sentenced to 15 days in prison pending investigation in Case no. 1475 of 2019, which is the very same one under which a labor activist named Khalil Rizk was charged. Rizk was the last person for whom Kamel had advocated and posted about publicly.

UN experts issued a calling for statement his release. Rights groups almost universally agree that Kamel’s arrest is a direct effort by the Egyptian government to punish and silence him. He has been a leading advocate for documenting and publicizing human rights abuses against Christians who have been displaced from their homes by the government’s actions.

Coptic Solidarity, a civil rights movement dedicated to achieving equality for Copts in Egypt, has launched an online advocacy campaign to secure his release. They have provided a sample message in English and Arabic that will be delivered directly to the inboxes of top Egyptian officials. Coptic Solidarity urges interested individuals to take action and to share the campaign within their communities to create greater pressure on the Egyptian government to immediately and unconditionally release Kamel.

International Religious Freedom Headlines

In India, Hindu protestors set shops and a Muslim shrine on fire where 186 people were injured and 10 people died. India has been rocked by violence since Parliament approved a new citizenship law in December that provides fast-track naturalization for some foreign-born religious minorities, but not Muslims.


Blasphemy is a capital offense in some Muslim countries. Insults on Facebook can lead to sentences of execution.


Israel, Jewish groups and Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès are among many who have strongly condemned costumes that caricature Jews and others wearing SS Nazi uniforms in Sunday's parade in Aalst, Belgium.


What We Are Reading

God's Hostage: A True Story of Persecution, Imprisonment, and Perseverance

By: Andrew Brunson

In 1993, Andrew and Norine Brunson traveled to Turkey---the world's largest unevangelized country---to serve as missionaries. Their work with Syrian refugees, including Kurds, gained attention and suspicion. In 2016, both were arrested. Norine was released, but Andrew was accused of spying and incarcerated. This is the tension-laden, faith-laced account of his imprisonment, brokenness, and eventual freedom.


Central Nigeria: Overcoming Dangerous Speech and Endemic Religious Divides

Longstanding problems of sectarian conflict around ethno-religious divides, resources, and property and citizenship rights between citizens in the Middle Belt region of the country escalated in 2018. The Nigerian government has yet to find sustainable solutions to perennial conflict and religious polarization. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom recently released a report on the situation.

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