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Egypt releases son of senior Palestinian official after two years in prison: Report

Judicial source tells AFP news agency that Ramy Shaath, son of veteran Palestinian politician Nabil Shaath, was released on Monday
Ramy Shaath was placed on a terrorism list by an Egyptian court in April 2020, which carries an asset freeze and travel ban.
Ramy Shaath was placed on a terrorism list by an Egyptian court in April 2020, which carries an asset freeze and travel ban (AFP/File photo)

Egypt's prosecution ordered the release of Egyptian-Palestinian activist Ramy Shaath on Monday, after almost two and a half years in detention, a judiciary source told the AFP news agency.

The source said that Shaath, the co-founder of Egypt's pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and son of veteran Palestinian politician Nabil Shaath, "has been released by the prosecution". There were no further details.

His wife, French national Celine Lebrun, told the news agency: "I heard about the decision but according to what I know, he is not yet out."

Lebrun, who was deported from Egypt shortly after her husband's arrest, added that she would release a statement once he is confirmed to be free.

Earlier on Monday, prominent MP Mohamed Anwar Sadat announced "an imminent decision to release" Shaath and deport him.

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In August 2019, Shaath's family said he had been detained on charges of assisting a terrorist group, based on "findings" that he and his lawyer had not been allowed to examine.

Then he was placed on a terrorism list by an Egyptian court in April 2020, which carried an asset freeze and travel ban.

He surpassed his maximum two-year pre-trial detention period in July 2021 and remained in detention in Egypt’s Tora prison.

Shaath's release comes months after a campaign advocating for his freedom was renewed so that he could be reunited with his father, who was suffering from severe deterioration of his health.

While in prison, his family said that Shaath had reported his own health issues as well as alarming prison conditions.

Last month, Egypt released Ola al-Qaradawi, the daughter of Qatar-based preacher and Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yousef al-Qaradawi, after four years of pre-trial detention.

Since the military coup in 2013 that ousted Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's first democratically-elected president, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has overseen what rights groups have described as the worst crackdown on human rights in the country's modern history.

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Thousands of Morsi supporters who hailed from the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as secular activists, have been detained since the coup.

Many have died in custody due to poor prison conditions and medical negligence. Last month, Hisham al-Qadi Hanafi, a former Egyptian lawmaker with the Muslim Brotherhood, died in Cairo's notorious maximum-security Scorpion Prison, or al-Aqrab, after suffering from health issues.

In September, US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said he had raised the issue of human rights during talks with Sisi in Cairo.

French President Emmanuel Macron had called for his release in a news conference in Paris with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in December.

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