#FreeGalal: Galal El-Behairy sentenced to three years in prison

On 31 July, the Military Court of Cairo sentenced the poet Galal El-Behairy to three years in prison and a fine of 10,000 Egyptian Pounds (560 USD) 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.

Galal El-Behairy has been condemned to three years in prison. The sentence will be carried out only after military chiefs ratify it, which means President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and Minister of Defence, Mr. Mohamed Ahmed Zakiy have the power to release Galal.

An appeal against the sentence is possible, but only following its ratification – for which there is no date. Until the ratification of the appeal, Egyptian Military Court sentences allow the army to use the condemned for any kind of work.

Both public and private petitions (see details below) are very welcome in order to put pressure on the Egyptian authorities.

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) with the #PrisonersofBalaha !


Don’t let artistic expression of dissent be silenced!



Take Action

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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

Email: p.spokesman@op.gov.eg Moh_moussa@op.gov.eg

Salutation: Your Excellency Twitter: @AlsisiOfficial

Minister of Justice
Mohamed Hossam Abdel Rahim
Ministry of Justice,
Lazoghly Sq.,
Fax: +202 2 795 8103
Email: mjustice@moj.gov.eg
Salutation: Dear Minister

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


Artists at Risk (AR) joins call to President El-Sisi for release of Mustafa Gamal and Galal El-Behairy

Open letter: Human Rights and Culture Groups call for Release of Mustafa Gamal

Mustafa Gamal to be released from pre-trial detention

Artists at Risk (AR) joins call for investigation into death of Shady Habash

#FreeGalal: AR and PEN call for the poet Galal El-Behairy’s sentence to be quashed

#FreeGalal: Galal El-Behairy’s poem: The Tartan Shirt

#FreeGalal Press: Ramy Essam’s Interview for YLE (Swedish)

A Letter from Tora Prison – Galal El Behairy

UPDATE: Galal El-Behairy’s sentencing by Military Courts delayed to 27 June

Breaking: Galal El-Behairy’s sentencing by Military Court delayed to May 16

#FreeGalal – International Music Council released a statement to not penalise Ramy Essam and Galal El-Behairy

#Free Galal – (Interview in Finnish) Johanna Sillanpää of Finnish PEN, talking about musician Ramy Esssam and poet Galal-El-Behairy from Egypt.

URGENT UPDATE: Galal El-Behairy to be sentenced in Military Court, May 16.

Sign the INTERNATIONAL APPEAL against torture, beatings and prison for Galal El-Behairy re Ramy Essam’s “Balaha”. #FreeGalal!

#FreeGalal #FreeMustafaGamal

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