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Egypt: Galal El-Behairy sentenced to three years in prison for his poem

Thursday 2 August 2018 - 11:52am

Galal El-Behairy

Update - 16 September 2021

On 31 July 2021, Galal El-Behairy had completed his sentence of three years imprisonment in case number: 4/2018 administrative misdemeanour, the Military Prosecutor. However, prison authorities did not release him until 3 August, when he was transferred to Kafr Shukr police station, where he remained until 15 August. Between 16 August and 5 September, Galal El-Behairy was subjected to enforced disappearance at a National Security facility. On 5 September 2021, he appeared before Supreme State Security Prosecution (SSSP) at the Fifth Settlement to face charges of “disseminating false news” and “joining a terrorist group” in case number:2000/2021 SSSP. The prosecutor ordered his pre-trial detention for 15 days on 5 September 2021 and continued to extend his detention.

El-Behiry’s family informed PEN International that his health condition has significantly deteriorated due to his imprisonment.

Egyptian authorities have expanded the use of pre-trial detention as a tool to silence critics.

Update - 1 February 2019

Galal El-Behairy, along with other political prisoners Islam Khalil, Shady Elghazaly, Abdelfatah Elbana and Ahmed Abu Alam, started a hunger strike on the 25th of January, which is the date of the anniversary of the Egyptian revolution. According to a report, the hunger strike is set to continue until 11 February 2019.

RAN 05/2018

Available in Arabic : Word

2 August 2018

PEN International strongly condemns the Cairo Military Court’s sentence of three years’ imprisonment and a fine of 10 000 Egyptian pounds (560 USD) of poet Galal El-Behairy, which violates his right to freedom of expression. On 31 July 2018, the sentence was handed down to El-Behairy for “insulting the military” and “spreading false news” on charges related to his latest book of poetry, ‘The Finest Women on Earth’.

El-Behairy also faces additional charges in a separate case investigated by the High State Security Prosecution for writing the lyrics for artist Ramy Essam’s song ‘Balaha’. On 3 March 2018, El-Behairy was arrested, beaten and tortured after the release of the song.

PEN International calls for El-Behairy’s immediate and unconditional release, to quash his sentence, and for the charges against him to be dropped.

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Send letters of appeal to the Egyptian authorities:

  • Protesting the continued imprisonment of poet Galal El-Behairy and calling for his immediate and unconditional release;
  • Ensure the full respect of his rights as a prisoner, in accordance with international human rights standards;
  • Urging the authorities to quash his sentence and to end the judicial proceedings against El-Behairy, as he is being held solely for her peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression;
  • Guarantee the peaceful exercise of the right to freedom of expression in Egypt, including the release of all detainees held in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Egypt is a State party.

Write to:


Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Office of the President,

Al Ittihadia Palace, Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt,

Fax: +202 2 391 1441


Salutation: Your Excellency Twitter: @AlsisiOfficial

Minister of Justice
Mohamed Hossam Abdel Rahim
Ministry of Justice,
Lazoghly Sq.,
Fax: +202 2 795 8103
Salutation: Dear Minister

Minister of Defence

Mr. Mohamed Ahmed Zaki

Ministry of Defence

23 El-Khalifa El-Maamoun st.,

El-Qobba Bridge, Al Waili,

Cairo Governorate – Egypt

Fax: +202 2 4144248

Salutation: Dear Minister

Please send your letters via the Embassy of the Egypt in your country. Addresses may be found here.