BDS coordinator arrested in Egypt
|Ali Abunimah 22 August 2019|
BDS Egypt is calling for the immediate release of its general coordinator Rami Shaath.
Shaath’s family revealed Wednesday that Egyptian security forces seized the campaigner in a dawn raid on his Cairo home on 5 July.
He is accused of having ties to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. There is no indication his arrest is related to his role in BDS Egypt.
BDS Egypt said that authorities have presented “no legal reasons or evidence to justify his detention until now.”
In calling for Shaath’s release, BDS Egypt warns against the circulation of false rumors and smears against him.
According to BDS Egypt, Shaath, 48, was arrested by state security as part of the so-called “Hope” case, in which many journalists and politicians have been detained supposedly for assisting a “terrorist” organization.
The “Hope” arrests, beginning in late June, targeted alleged supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, the party of President Muhammad Morsi.
Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Morsi died in detention in June, six years after being ousted in a military coup.
“The latest wave of arrests targeting critics, opposition leaders, activists and journalists under the guise of counterterrorism is part of the Egyptian authorities’ systematic persecution and brutal crackdown on anyone who dares to criticize them,” Magdalena Mughrabi of Amnesty International said following the first wave of “Hope” detentions.
According to BDS Egypt, which supports the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign for Palestinian rights, Shaath’s family chose not to immediately publicize his detention, hoping to find legal and diplomatic routes to his release.
Rami Shaath is the son of Nabil Shaath, a Palestine Liberation Organization official long involved in the Oslo peace process with Israel and an adviser to Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas.
Rami is a cofounder of BDS Egypt, which mounts campaigns against Egyptian normalization with Israel and in support of the Palestinian boycott call.
In 2015, BDS Egypt called for a boycott of Orange, after The Electronic Intifada revealed how the France-based mobile telecoms giant directly supported Israel’s 2014 assault on Gaza.
With millions of customers in Egypt, Orange quickly announced its intention to withdraw from Israel.