In memory of Shady Habash 

On 1 May 2020, at 24 years old, Egyptian filmmaker Shady Habash died under ambiguous circumstances in a high security prison in Cairo. He was arrested in 2018 for his involvement in the creation of a satirical music video by Ramy Essam. In May 2020, AGL on behalf of Ramy Essam made a submission to the United Nations Special Rapporteur  on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions to petition for due investigation into his untimely death. 

Shady was a victim of censorship, prejudice and a corrupt judiciary. At the time of his death, he had spent two years in unlawful detention in one of Egypt’s most notorious prisons. Shady is one of many artists who face immense risk and danger to their life and personal safety for exercising their rights. 

There is an urgent need for legal intervention to prevent such tragedies and to protect the human rights of artists. Further, according to documentation by Freemuse, 44% of the artists imprisoned worldwide were from the Middle East and North African (MENA) region [The State of Artistic Freedom, 2021]. 

The Legal Defence Fund in memory of Shady Habash has been launched to ensure that a maximum number of artists in situations of increased vulnerability in the MENA region have access to specialised legal assistance, through an expansion in AGL capacity of intervention in the region. The money raised shall allow AGL to engage legal fellows, local lawyers, translators and other experts for casework, organise for emergency travel as well as to conduct empirical and doctrinal research on pertinent issues in the region. Your support and contribution to the Legal Defence Fund shall be instrumental in helping us continue carrying out our mission to defend artists’ rights! 



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