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Egyptian poet jailed accused of mocking security forces

An Egyptian poet, Galal El Behairy, was sentenced to thee years in jail and a fine of 10,000 Egyptian pounds on Tuesday, for “insulting the military establishment”. 

Mr Behairy was initially arrested on March 3, after the release of the song Balaha, which is allegedly to have mocked President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and appeared on Egyptian media. 

During his first court appearance on May 6, he showed signs of torture and beating. 

A panel of UN human rights experts have expressed concern over the sentences. 

“We are very worried at the reported criminalisation of the legitimate exercise of artistic expression through the imposition of a range of dubious charges,” the panel noted. 

President Sisi, who took power through a military coup in 2013 has presided over an increasing crackdown on free speech and dissent. Thousands of opponents have been jailed and hundreds of sites in Egypt have been blocked in recent months.

Undeterred by his sentence however, Mr Behairy plans to publish another collection of poems entitled, “The Finest Women on Earth”, later this year. 

This collection is thought to take aim at the Egyptian soldiers. alluding to a hadith by the Prophet Muhammad who describes the soldiers as “the finest soldiers on earth”. The term woman, niswan in Arabic, implies subservience and weakness. Mr Behairy states that the title has been misinterpreted as it was not meant to demean the soldiers: "It is rather a recognition of the value of women and of their good deeds in this world. Every soldier, man, fighter, scientist, and inventor is the result of a mother’s education, a wife’s embrace and a daughter’s innocence."

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