The Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) calls on Public Prosecutor Mohamed Shawky to put an end to the violations against poet Galal al-Beheiry, provide him with the necessary health care, and release him immediately, especially after he attempted to commit suicide inside his cell in Badr Prison this month.
Beheiry’s family told AFTE’s lawyer that Beheiry attempted to commit suicide on 9 September, but his life was saved at the last minute. Beheiry’s suicide attempt came in protest against his prolonged detention without evidence or serious investigations. He has been held in pretrial detention for more than five years, on charges repeatedly used to abuse prisoners of conscience.
A few days earlier, Beheiry announced that he had gone on a full hunger strike for the second time this year. AFTE’s lawyer submitted complaint No. 50598 of 2023 to the Public Prosecutor’s office requesting an investigation into Beheiry’s hunger strike, and demanding his release pursuant to Article 143 of the Criminal Procedures Law.
AFTE’s lawyer had filed another complaint in March demanding that Beheiry be transferred quickly to the prison hospital to receive health care. This came after Beheiry went on a three-month hunger strike and took heart and depression medications. However, the authorities ignored the complainant’s demands, and the Criminal Court continued to renew Beheiry’s detention, despite his full hunger strike and the danger it posed to his life at the time.
The targeting of Beheiry began when he co-wrote a satirical political song for singer Ramy Essam. The Egyptian authorities arrested Beheiry and six others, including filmmaker Shady Habash, who died in prison at the age of 24 as a result of medical negligence, an incident that raises concerns about the life of Beheiry, who does not have access to health care.
AFTE stresses the need to release Beheiry and drop all charges against him as a prisoner of conscience who spent more than five years in prison for exercising his political rights guaranteed by the Egyptian constitution. Articles 65, 70, and 71 of the constitution stipulate the right of citizens to freedom of expression, and ban the application of custodial penalties publication and publicity crimes, especially those related to freedom of expression.