Egyptian Coptic activist Rami Kamil was released on 9 January, pending a trial, after spending more than two years in pre-trial detention, and exceeding the two-year limit permitted under article 143 of the Egyptian Penal Code.

Mr Kamil is a prominent human rights activist and a founding member and coordinator of the Maspero Youth Union, a Coptic human rights organisation that emerged following the Maspero massacre of October 2011, in which over 20 Coptic protesters were killed when the military attacked a peaceful civil rights protest. He was arrested in November 2019, and his detention was extended on multiple occasions over the past two years.

Mr Kamil is currently facing terrorism charges, but it is widely believed he was targeted because of his human rights work documenting violations of the right to freedom of religion or belief.

CSW’s sources met with Mr Kamil in his family home and reported that he looked well and was smiling and telling jokes.

CSW’s Founder President Mervyn Thomas said: “CSW welcomes Mr Kamil’s release from pre-trial detention, and we are pleased to hear that he is back with his family and in good health. However, he should never have been arrested; neither should he have had to spend so long in pre-trial detention. We call for all the charges against him to be dropped without precondition, and for the immediate and unconditional release of all others detained on excessive charges that amount to the criminalisation of human rights activism.”