Saturday morning, Egyptian activists reported news of the sudden death of 22-years old filmmaker and photographer Shadi Habash, who has been in Tora Prison since March 2018 following a viral music clip he directed.
Shadi Habash has been arrested solely for his direction to a music video against Egypt's Sisi in February 2018. The video went viral and he was arrested a few days after it was broadcasted. https://t.co/bik905ye1O— Abdelrahman Ayyash (@3yyash) May 2, 2020
Working with singer Ramy Essam on a song called "Balaha" (Arabic for dates), the young director was arrested and charged with "joining a terrorist group, spreading false news, abuse of social media networks, blasphemy, contempt of religion and insulting the military."
In a letter he wrote to his family last October, Habash asked for support "to not die in prison," saying that he's "overwhelmed every time he's taken to court only for the judge to ignore all the files and renew his arrest for another 45 days."
Imagine you write a song, post it on social media and instead of getting likes, you get beaten and put in prison!— Muhamad Osama (@osama_elaraby) May 3, 2020
Two years later - you die.
Today, young Egyptian photographer, filmmaker, and director Shady Habash passed away in prison apart from his loved ones. #شادي_حبش pic.twitter.com/DYrXXEeAFo
News of Shadi Habash's passing flood social media in Egypt, with many users warning that other artists and journalists, who have been in jail for years as early as 2013 when President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi assumed power in what's been labeled as a "military coup," might face the same fate.
Singer Ramy Essam, who sought refuge in Sweden after Egyptian authorities revoked his passport in January 2019, released a statement mourning Habash and highlighting that he "didn’t have anything to do with the content of the song."
"As an acknowledged photographer and director, Shady was constantly working on Middle Eastern projects, and Balaha was just one of the many music videos that Shady directed in his career, " Ramy Essam added.
#شادي_حبش— Mohammed Gad (@MohammedGad_) May 2, 2020
Political prisoners in Egypt are often held for years without trial, frequently in what rights groups say are dirty, overcrowded conditions with poor medical treatment.
In March, Amnesty called on Mr. el-Sisi to release prisoners who are vulnerable to Covid-19. pic.twitter.com/9cxijo9DyT
Social media users noted that Habash isn't the first young man to lose his life in Egyptian prisons for his work, and warned that many other satirists could face the same fate if no action is being taken.
مهند إيهاب:مات في 2016 كان عمره 20 سنه بالسرطان بعد اهمال علاجه علشان كان في السجن كريم مدحت: مات في 2017 وهو عمرة17سنة مات متكلبش في السرير اللي بيتعالج عليه علشان كان مسجون— ahmed hakes (@AhmedHakes) May 2, 2020
عمر عادل :مات في 2019 وهو عنده25سنه في السجن في التأديب ممنوع من الزيارة..#شادي_حبش مات النهاردة22 سنة pic.twitter.com/Mb8ewpny53
Translation: "Mohannad Ehab: 20-years old - died in 2016 with cancer after being denied treatment, while in prison.
17-years old Kareem Medhat - died in 2017, while handcuffed to his hospital bed.
25-years old Omar Adel - died in 2019 while in prison after being denied visits.
22-years old Shadi Habash - died today."
Shadi Habash has been murdered by the lack of hope for some justice. I will not be hiding my depression and my anger at this moment and don't know what to do, really feel bad.— إبن بحر (@marcosedrak) May 2, 2020
Rest In Peace Shadi.
رامز جلال بيكمل في أذيته.أما صاحب الضحكة الجميلة وخفة الدم الحقيقية، ضحكته كل يوم بتدوب عشان تعمل بحر دموع في سجون السيسي#الحرية_لشادي_أبوزيد#الحرية_للمعتقلين— Aya Hijazi آية حجازي (@_AyaHijazi_) April 29, 2020
Shadi Abu Zaid, a comedian and beautiful soul, spends his third Ramadan in Sisi’s prison.All b/c of his satire
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