Egypt arrests son of Abbas adviser

Ramy Sha'ath’s lawyers learned that their client was being charged with “assisting a terrorist group,” referring to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Nabil Shaath (photo credit: AMIR COHEN - REUTERS)
Nabil Shaath
(photo credit: AMIR COHEN - REUTERS)
Nabil Sha’ath, a former Palestinian Authority deputy prime minister and foreign minister, denied on Thursday that his son, Ramy, was linked to an anti-Egyptian terrorist group.
Sha’ath’s denial came after his family revealed on Wednesday that Ramy, 48, was arrested by Egyptian security forces last July.
The 81-year-old Sha’ath, who played a major role in secret negotiations that led to the signing of the Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO in 1993, said he believes his son was arrested because of his political views and activities.
The father, who also serves as a senior adviser to PA President Mahmoud Abbas and is a veteran member of the ruling Fatah faction, claimed that Ramy’s arrest was apparently linked to his activities with the BDS movement and his opposition to the “Deal of the Century.”
The family’s statement that Ramy was arrested on July 5 from his home in Cairo after at least a dozen heavily armed security agents stormed and searched his residence without presenting any legal document allowing them to do so.
“During the raid, the agents seized computers, hard drives and mobile phones,” the family said. “Ramy’s spouse, a French citizen resident in Egypt for more than seven years, was arbitrarily and forcibly deported by these security forces, who refused to disclose the reason for this, or to allow her to contact her consulate.”
Ramy’s lawyers later learned that their client was being charged with “assisting a terrorist group,” reference to the Muslim Brotherhood.
The family said that Ramy, who was born in Lebanon, moved to Cairo with his family in 1977. “He dedicated his entire life to the defense of Palestinian rights and to freedom and justice in the region,” it said in its statement. “He served as a political and strategic consultant to former PA president Yasser Arafat. From Cairo, he played an active role in the negotiations for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state; after the negotiations failed, he withdrew from politics in the late 1990’s. Much later, in 2010 as a movement for democracy and social justice was growing in Egypt, Ramy joined the coalition of activists who led the popular uprising that led to the ousting of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.”
According to the family, in 2015 Ramy co-founded and became coordinator the BDS movement in Egypt. “Just before his arrest, Ramy very vocally expressed his opposition to the ‘Deal of the Century’ and any Egyptian participation in the Bahrain conference,” the family said.
The Bahrain conference refers to last June’s economic workshop in Manama, where the Trump administration unveiled the economic portion of the “Deal of the Century.”
The family accused the Egyptian authorities of “arbitrarily detaining Ramy due to his legitimate and peaceful activities,” adding that he was being charged in an “unfounded criminal case with no real evidence against him, except police ‘findings’ that neither he nor his lawyers have been allowed to examine.”
The family said that the Egyptian security authorities have been “persecuting Ramy for many years for his public positions against all form of political repression in Egypt, as well as his defense of Palestinian rights against Israeli occupation and apartheid.” The family pointed out that in 2012 the Egyptian authorities refused to renew his Egyptian passport, arguing that he was Palestinian, and not Egyptian.
“Since his arrest, Ramy has been detained in Torah prison, where he spent the first month in a cell about 30 sq.m. in size, in which about 30 others were also held, some of whom having illnesses,” the Sha’ath family added. “His family is very worried about these poor conditions, especially considering that Ramy has high cholesterol, which requires regular exercise, a healthy diet and medication.”
The arrest of Sha’ath’s son is apparently linked to an ongoing investigation in Egypt in relation to suspicions of a joint plot between the Muslim Brotherhood’s exiled leadership and the civil opposition [in Egypt] to target the state and its institutions. According to Amnesty International, several individuals – including a former member of parliament, opposition party leaders, journalists and activists – have been arrested in connection with the alleged plot.