22 May 2020
In an open letter sent this week to the Egyptian Ministry of Justice, Artists at Risk (AR) joins PEN America, Amani: Africa Creative Defence Network, and more than 60 partner organizations calling on authorities to conduct a full and transparent investigation into the death of 24-year-old filmmaker Shady Habash, and to release all artists, writers, and journalists currently held in pre-trial detention.
Habash died in an Egyptian prison earlier this month after spending some 800 days in detention, a flagrant violation of Egyptian law, which prohibits holding someone without charges for more than two years. He was detained for his role in connection with exiled musician Ramy Essam’s song, Balaha, which criticized the Egyptian government and President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Artists at Risk (AR) is also campaigning for the release of Mustafa Gamal and Gala El-Behairy, both detained alongside Shady Habash in connection to their relationship with Ramy Essam.