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Egyptian poet Galal El-Behairy sentenced to three years in jail

1 August 2018
Egyptian poet Galal El-Behairy was sentenced to three years in prison and fined for “publishing false news” and “insulting the army” through his poetry.
Photo: Part of a poem Galal El-Behairy shared from prison

 

Egyptian poet Galal El-Behairy was sentenced to three years in jail and fined 10,000 Egyptian pounds (480 euros) on 31 July for “publishing false news” and “insulting the army” through his poetry, reported Reuters.

Freemuse and the international human rights community continue to protest El-Behairy’s imprisonment, which is a violation of his right to freedom of expression.

The charges relate to the publication of his latest anthology, The Finest Women on Earth, which Freemuse learned has not been published. El-Behairy was arrested in March and detained for 150 days before being sentenced in an Egyptian military court.

The poet is also facing a civil case related to his lyrics being used in a song by Egyptian musician Ramy Essam, who himself has a warrant for his arrest in absentia over the song and accompanying video. In this case, the artists are accused of insulting Islam and the current administration.

El-Behairy’s sentence comes five days after six UN Special Rapporteurs urged Egyptian authorities to release and “acquit him of all charges related to the creative expression of his political views”.

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