On the eve of the Eid al-Fitr, cultural rights defenders have written to President of Egypt Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, calling for the release of web designer Mustafa Gamal and poet Galal El-Behairy.
On the occasion of Eid al-Fitr, it is customary in Egypt to release or pardon prisoners from jail. Therefore, international network of culture groups is appealing to President El-Sisi to release web designerMustafa Gamaland to pardon poetGalal El-Behairy,and to give them the chance to spend Eid al-Fitr with their families.
For over two years, both Mustafa Gamal and Galal El-Behairy have been jailed innocent of any offences.
Web designer Mustafa Gamal was arrested in March 2018 and has been detained ever since despite the expiry of the two-year time-limit prescribed by the Egyptian legislation. On 13 May, Mr. Gamal’s detention was again extended for another forty-five days.
Poet and lyricist Galal El-Behairy was arrested in March 2018 and is currently serving a three-year sentence; his charge is simply having written a book of poetry which was never even published.
In March 2020, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, issued an international appeal to that end, calling for the release of every person detained without sufficient legal basis and others detained for expressing critical or dissenting views. Mr. Gamal and Mr. El-Behairy are among those directly concerned by her call.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic which ravages prisons around the world, the organizations believe that there is also a strong public health argument for releasing detainees to limit the virus’s transmission.