Avant-Garde Lawyers together with International Music Council, International Federation of Musicians, International Federation of Actors, Freemuse, PEN America, European Music Council, Safemuse, Finnish PEN and Hungarian Music Council have appealed to the Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to release poet Galal El-Behairy on Eid Al-Fitr in April 2023.
H.E. President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi
Al Ittihadiya Palace, Cairo
Arab Republic of Egypt
17 April 2023
First, we would like to express our warmest wishes to you during the holy month of Ramadan this year and hope that the occasion of the upcoming Eid Al-Fitr is a source of joy and fulfillment.
We are writing to draw your attention to the plight of Egyptian citizen Galal Abd El-Fattah Galal Abd El-Fattah El-Behairy (Case No. 2000/2021), currently detained in Egypt’s Badr prison. Today marks Mr. El-Behairy’s 1871st day in detention. Mr. El-Behairy (born on 27 June 1990) was arrested on 5 March 2018. He was convicted and sentenced to three years imprisonment, for simply having written a book of poetry that was never even published. Despite having fully served his sentence, Mr. El-Behairy continues to be detained with similar accusations in a fresh investigation against him.
On 5 March 2023, the day marking the beginning of his sixth year in detention, Mr. El-Behairy went on a hunger strike. We are very concerned for his health and well-being, which are at grave risk in the current circumstances.
We are aware that Egypt’s leadership had made the decision, in the past, to release or pardon prisoners as a sign of magnanimity and good will on the occasion of Eid Al-Fitr as well as the commemoration of the Sinai Liberation Day. We implore you, Excellency, to have Mr. El-Behairy promptly released from detention so that he may spend time with his community, heal in the presence of his family and celebrate Eid with them after a tormented absence of five years.
We thank you in anticipation of your consideration of our plea.
Avant-Garde Lawyers (AGL)
European Music Council
Finnish PEN - Suomen PEN
Hungarian Music Council
International Federation of Actors
International Federation of Musicians
International Music Council
Safemuse - Safe Havens for Artists
Letter in pdf format:
Poet Galal El-Behairy has been imprisoned in Egypt since 2018. In July 2018, El-Behairy was sentenced to 3 years in prison and a 10 000 L.E. fine by the Military Court in Cairo, because of his unpublished book of poetry, The Finest Women On Earth. After serving the sentence, Galal stays imprisoned in Badr prison, Cairo.
5 March 2023 marked 5 years since the arrest of El-Behairy. The same day, Galal started a hunger strike, to get out of prison ’alive, or not alive’.
Read Galal's hunger strike statement >
Read Galal’s latest poem ‘In My Silence Is My Death’ from prison >
Watch Ramy Essam’s music video ‘In My Silence Is My Death’ with Galal’s lyrics >