SIGN THE PETITION BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!
PEN calls for the poet Galal El-Behairy’s sentence to be quashed
PEN calls for charges of ‘insulting the military’ and ‘spreading false news’ to be quashed in an open letter and publishes a new poem by El-Behairy. On 31 July 2018, as he reached his 150th day in detention, Egyptian poet and lyricist Galal El-Behairy was sentenced to three years in prison and a fine of 10,000 L.E for ‘insulting the military’ and ‘spreading false news’.
READ MORE ⇨
Open letter from PEN and Artists At Risk
UN human rights experts have urged Egyptian authorities to release poet Galal El-Behairy. ”We are alarmed at the arrest and alleged ill-treatment of Mr. El Behairy which appears to be related solely to the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of artistic expression and creativity,” said the experts.
READ MORE ⇨
Take Action: Read and share his work
To draw further international attention to his case Finnish PEN is proud to publish Galal El-Behairy’s new poem, which he has written in Tora Prison on 27 June 2018. Previously PEN centres – Danish PEN, English PEN, Finnish PEN, French PEN, German PEN, Norwegian PEN, PEN America, Swedish PEN – and our colleagues at Arablit and Artists at Risk came together to publish a poem by El-Behairy.
READ MORE ⇨
“The Tartan Shirt”: New poem by Galal El-Behairy from behind bars
Read the new poem “The Tartan Shirt” by Galal El-Behairy, written in Tora prison, Cairo, Egypt on June 27, 2018. The poem is written in Egyptian (Arabic), and was published by PEN centres around the world on August 11. Read or download a PDF below.
Read more about Galal El-Behairy on the websites below ⇩
Torture, beatings and prison for Galal El-Behairy, for Ramy Essam's viral video “Balaha.”
After the release of Ramy Essam’s latest song and music video Balaha, the author of the lyrics Galal El-Behairy was arrested, beaten and tortured. A warrant for the arrest of Ramy Essam on similar charges, was issued in absentia.
On February 26, 2018, Ramy Essam released a new song and music video Balaha, criticizing the authoritarian regime of Egypt. The song by the Egyptian revolutionary singer has amassed over 3.5 million views on YouTube alone. Soon after the release various pro-state TV hosts launched a smear campaign against Ramy and the poet Galal El-Behairy, who wrote the lyrics to the song. The Minister of Culture Enas Abdel Dayem stated on TV that she will bring a case against Galal El-Behairy because of his work as a poet, and various TV-hosts called for Ramy Essam’s “legal slaughter”, to revoke his citizenship, and to prosecute him as a foreign spy.
On March 3, 2018 Galal El-Behairy was arrested and his whereabouts were not disclosed to his family or lawyers until he appeared before the state prosecution on March 10. He showed signs of severe torture and beating and was taken for forensic medical examination.
Because of the lyrics he wrote for Balaha, as well as his latest book of poetry, The Finest Women on Earth ( خير نسوان الأرض) which was to be published this year, Galal El-Behairy is being investigated by the high state-security prosecutor. Charges against him include being a member of a terrorist group, spreading false news, the abuse of social-media networks, blasphemy, contempt of religion and insulting the military. An arrest warrant in the same case has been issued against Ramy Essam for the song Balaha.
Galal El-Behairy likewise faces charges for the content of his book, in a separate case by the military prosecutor.
Ramy Essam released the following statement:
Read more at: ramyessamvoice.com
We condemn this brutal repression of the freedom of expression.
We demand the immediate and unconditional release of Galal El-Behairy!
Join us in solidarity with the #PrisonersofBalaha #FreeGalal
Don’t let artistic expression of dissent be silenced.
Sign and share the petition at:
Campaign Partner: Artists at Risk (AR): www.artistsatrisk.org
Poet Galal El-Behairy arrested for Balaha song lyrics.