The wife of an activist imprisoned in Egypt hopes for a gesture, on the sidelines of President Sissi’s visit to Paris

Céline Lebrun-Shaath, the wife of Palestinian activist Ramy Shaath, imprisoned in Egypt for two and a half years, still wants to believe in his speedy release. In the absence of signals in this direction, she hopes that the fate of her husband will be addressed during the visit of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sissi to Paris on Friday, November 12. The Egyptian leader was to participate during the day in an international conference on Libya, co-chaired by Emmanuel Macron at the House of Chemistry, then attend the ceremonies organized for the 75th anniversary of Unesco. He also had to have lunch alone with his French counterpart at the Elysee Palace. “ The President regularly addresses the issue of human rights in confidence and frankness during their meeting. Individual cases are mentioned », Assured a diplomatic source on Friday morning.

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This new official trip, however, fills Céline Lebrun-Shaath with bitterness, as her husband languishes in an overcrowded cell, without having been tried since his arrest on July 5, 2019. “Sissi’s visits follow one another, bilateral contacts and contracts follow one another, and my husband remains in prison”, she told the World, just before the arrival in France of the strong man from Cairo, considered by Paris as a strategic partner: “I do not doubt the intentions of the French authorities, but I wonder about their lack of effectiveness. ” On December 7, 2020, during a state visit by President Sisi, Emmanuel Macron had already discussed the case with him. Since then, contacts have continued in vain between Paris and Cairo on this emblematic case of human rights violation.

Accused “unfounded”

Ramy Shaath was, before being placed in preventive detention, coordinator in Egypt of the BDS movement (“boycott, divestment, sanctions”) against the occupation of the Palestinian territories by Israel. This committed man, who took an active part in the Egyptian revolution of 2011, is the son of Nabil Shaath, former negotiator and adviser to the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas. Ramy Shaath, who was himself an adviser to Yasser Arafat, is being held in Tora prison in Cairo. Various negotiations, carried out in particular from Ramallah, to obtain his release, also went unanswered.

In June, more than 180 French elected officials from all sides had published an open letter to the Egyptian president asking for his release. According to his family, Ramy Shaath would be accused ” unfounded “ assistance to a “Terrorist group” as part of a “Criminal case already open” : at the end of June 2019, the state security had launched a net against opponents and activists, accusing them of preparing a “Plot” against the state and to maintain links with the Muslim Brotherhood – the brotherhood is banned in Egypt and classified as “terrorist”.

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The wife of an activist imprisoned in Egypt hopes for a gesture, on the sidelines of President Sissi’s visit to Paris

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