PARIS (AFP) – 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 the Zionist regime.
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.
“If we are glad that the Egyptian authorities heard our call for freedom, we regret that they forced Ramy to renounce his Egyptian citizenship as a precondition for his release that should have been unconditional,” the family added.
“No one should have to choose between their freedom and their citizenship,” the 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.
Ramy and 12 other activists have been imprisoned since 2019 in the Hope coalition case, in which authorities accused them of being funded by the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood to incite uprising and commit violence.
However, colleagues and activists said the detentions were aimed at thwarting the formation of a coalition ahead of the 2020 parliamentary elections.
The 13 people were placed on the terrorism list for a period of five years in April 2020.
In February 2021, a panel of United Nations experts urged the removal of Ramy, and activist and former member of parliament Zyad Elelaimy from the terrorist list.
The government in Cairo has long faced criticism over its human rights record.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who overthrew the government of Mohamed Morsi of Muslim Brotherhood in 2013, has been president since 2014.