As of 28 December 2018, Egyptian poet Galal El-Behairy has spent 300 days behind bars over his poetry.
El-Behairy was sentenced to three years in jail and fined 10,000 Egyptian pounds (480 euros) on 31 July 2018 for “publishing false news” and “insulting the army” in his unpublished book of poetry, The Finest Women on Earth.
He is appealing the sentence.
The poet was arrested on 3 March 2018, just days after the release of the song Balaha by Egyptian musician Ramy Essam that uses El-Behairy’s lyrics.
In a separate, ongoing civil case, El-Behairy is accused of insulting Islam and the current administration in the song’s lyrics. Essam has a warrant for his arrest in absentia over the song and accompanying video.
El-Behairy continues to write poetry from prison. His latest piece—in Arabic—has been published here by Ramy Essam.
In July 2018, six UN Special Rapporteurs urged Egyptian authorities to release Galal El-Behairy and “acquit him of all charges related to the creative expression of his political views”.