Africa

Filmmaker who mocked Egypt’s President Sisi dies in prison aged 22

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An Egyptian filmmaker detained without trial for over two years for making a music video that mocked President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi died on Saturday at a maximum-security prison complex, two rights lawyers said.

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Attorney Ahmed el-Khwaga said his 22-year-old client Shady Habash died in Cairos Tora Prison complex. He said the cause of death was not immediately clear.

There was no immediate comment from the Interior Ministry, which oversees Egypts prison system.

Police forces arrested the young filmmaker in March 2018 after he directed a music video by Ramy Essam, an Egyptian musician exiled in Sweden. The video featured a song that mocked the general-turned president, comparing him to a fruit date and condemning alleged government corruption.

Khaled Ali, a rights lawyer, said Habash should have been released two months ago after serving the maximum jail time during pending investigations.

Galal el-Behairy, who wrote the song performed in the video, was also arrested in 2018 after the video provoked the ire of the government when it went viral on social media with millions of views on YouTube.

El-Behairy was sentenced by an Egyptian military court to three years in prison after his conviction on charges of “insulting security forces” and “disseminating false news.”

Following his death, Habashs friends published a letter he wrote from prison in October in which he spoke of his despair. “Prison doesnt kill, loneliness does,” he wrote, describing what he called his struggle to “stop yourself from going mad or dying slowly because youve been thrown in a room two years ago and forgotten.”

“His psychological state was very bad,” el-Khwaga said of Habash when he saw for the last time two months ago.

Habashs death again trained a spotlight on the dangers of Egyptian prisons as el-Sissi escalates a crackdown on dissent. Many inmates are serving time for crimes they insist they did not commit, or have not been charged at all. According to rights groups, thousands are held in Egypts jails awaiting trial.

The death also comes amid the coronavirus pandemic. OvercrowdRead More – Source

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