A younger filmmaker who labored on a music video that mocked Egyptian president Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has died in an Egyptian jail, after he was imprisoned with out trial for greater than two years.
Shady Habash, 24, died inside Cairo’s notorious Tora jail advanced, from “well being points not but specified,” in accordance with bulletins from household and pals.
Habash’s detention and demise characterize a stark reminder of the rising variety of younger folks in danger inside Egypt’s sprawling jail system, together with many detained for his or her work as artists, making dissenting statements in opposition to Sisi’s rule or for no cost in any respect.
There’s additionally rising concern over unsanitary and unsafe mass detentions inside Egyptian prisons, reflecting fears in regards to the unfold of Covid-19 in locations of detention all over the world. Distinguished activist Alaa Abdel al-Fattah, re-imprisoned final September, lately started a starvation strike in protest at jail circumstances. The Egyptian authorities, who suspended jail visits in March as a result of coronavirus outbreak, have been criticised for widespread and lethal medical neglect of prisoners, together with former president Mohamed Morsi, who collapsed and died in courtroom in June 2019.
Mai al-Sedany, an skilled on the Egyptian authorized system with the Washington thinktank the Tahrir Institute for Center East Coverage, stated that Habash’s demise highlights rising concern round an absence of due course of in Egypt. This consists of “an increase in prosecution round freedom of expression, continued and close to computerized pretrial detention extensions in violation of even Egyptian regulation, and poor jail circumstances that severely hurt the well-being of these incarcerated,” she stated.
The younger artist was detained in March 2018, after directing a music video for the exiled Egyptian rock musician Ramy Essam. The video sees Essam, who now lives in Sweden, dancing as he criticises the rule of Egyptian president Sisi, evaluating him to a date or “balaha”, the title of a personality in a well-liked comedy movie used in opposition to Sisi by his critics. “You reside in gardens and we reside in jails,” he sings, “could the Lord take you all of us pray, with all of your gang boys in that darkest jail, I hope you rot in such a spot.”
The video’s launch prompted the arrest of eight folks, most with little connection to Essam. These included Habash, the poet and lyricist Galal al-Beheiry and Mohamed Abdel-Basset, who was arrested after taking part in the track on his automobile stereo in Kuwait and deported again to Egypt. All have been accused of becoming a member of a terrorist group and spreading false information. Beheiry was sentenced to a few years in jail in July 2018 for publishing false information and insulting the army in a separate army trial.
Following the discharge of 5 concerned within the case, Habash and Mustafa Gamal, who helped Essam confirm his Fb web page, remained in jail on pre-trial detention. “He ought to have been launched after two years,” stated a consultant from the Cairo-based Affiliation for Freedom of Thought and Expression, who requested to not be named for their very own security. “As an alternative he was compelled to stay in custody with no authorized grounds. He died in jail, the place he shouldn’t have been within the first place. No artist must be in jail for his work.”
Essam wrote on his web site that “Shady didn’t have something to do with the content material of the track.” He additionally revealed Habash’s final letter from jail, entitled “jail doesn’t kill, loneliness does. I want your assist to not die.”
— to www.theguardian.com