Torture, beatings and prison for Galal El-Behairy, for Ramy Essam's “Balaha”. #FreeGalal!
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An International Appeal by Artists at Risk (AR)
On February 26th 2018 Ramy Essam released Balaha. This new song and music video by the “Singer of Tahrir Square” criticizing the authoritarian regime of Egypt has garnered over 3.5 million views on Youtube alone. The poet Galal El-Behairy wrote the lyrics.
On February 28th the Egyptian Minister of Culture went on live TV to denounce El-Behairy and in particular for his latest book of poetry The Finest Women on Earth. Since then, TV hosts have made public calls to revoke Essam’s citizenship and to prosecute him (in absentia) as a foreign spy. Some have even called for his “legal slaughter”.
On March 3rd Galal El-Behairy was arrested during a harrowing attempted escape. His whereabouts were not disclosed to his family or lawyers until he appeared before the high state-security prosecutor on March 10th. He showed obvious signs of severe beatings and torture.
Galal El-Behairy currently faces charges of being a member of a terrorist group, spreading false news, abuse of social-media networks, blasphemy, contempt of religion and insulting the military. An arrest warrant was issued for Ramy Essam on the same charges for the song Balaha.
We condemn this brutal repression of the freedom of expression.
We demand the immediate and unconditional release of Galal El-Behairy!
Join Artists at Risk (AR) in solidarity with the #PrisonersofBalaha.
Watch Balaha here: https://goo.gl/27rTiF.
Don’t let artistic expression of dissent be silenced!
Read the press release and the statement by Ramy Essam at: ramyessamvoice.com
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