In February 2018 Egyptian artist Ramy Essam released a song and music video, Balaha. Lyricist of the song, poet Galal El-Behairy, director of the music video Shady Habash as well as Ramy's former social media expert Mustafa Gamal have been arrested in Egypt since.

Galal El-Behairy

On 31st of July 2018, Galal El-Behairy was sentenced to 3 years on prison and 10 000 L.E. fine in the Military Court in Cairo because of his unreleased book of poetry, The Finest Women On Earth. Galal is also facing charges in a Civilian Court case concerning Balaha, which he has been conditionally released from. However, he will stay imprisoned, having been sentenced already in the Military Court.

Shady Habash & Mustafa Gamal

As an acknowledged photographer and director Shady Habash is constantly working with Middle Eastern projects. Balaha is just one of many songs that Shady directed music video for. He does not have anything to do with the content and message of the song.

Mustafa Gamal does not have anything to do with Balaha. As a social media expert, he is helping many with their social media platforms. One of his clients in 2015 was Ramy Essam – he only certified Ramy’s fan page on Facebook, and this was the only connection between him and Ramy. Since 2015, Ramy and Mustafa were not even in any contact.

Anyhow, Shady and Mustafa have been imprisoned soon for 500 days. The charges against them 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.

the case

It is a song


We have been dreaming of a better Egypt for seven years. Even in the darkest of times, we haven’t lost hope. We have expressed ourselves peacefully through art, using music as a tool against violence, oppression and corruption.

With this song we wanted to remind everyone of the freedom we once had, granted by the revolution. We wanted to remind everyone of the right to speak, the right to criticize, and the right to dream of change.


We wanted to start a dialogue about where Egypt is now and where it could be. Our art is not created to make people fight. It is music, it is how we feel. It is a song.

Ramy Essam

April 5, 2018






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We demand the immediate and unconditional release of

Galal El-Behairy!

Join Artists at Risk (AR) in solidarity – sign the petition!