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Egypt: Jailed Musician Faces Trumped-Up Charges: Rami Sidky

, Index number: MDE 12/9927/2019

On 5 May 2018, Egyptian authorities arrested 33-year-old musician Rami Sidky at Cairo International Airport. He was detained in connection with a satirical music video, “Balaha,” which had gone viral ahead of the March 2018 presidential elections, and appeared to poke fun at President El-Sisi. According to his lawyer, Rami Sidky took no part in writing, producing or performing the “Balaha” song. The authorities had already detained the alleged author of the lyrics in March 2018, along with four other individuals accused of involvement in the track production. In addition, Amnesty International considers that the song is part and parcel of the exercise of the right to freedom of expression. Rami Sidky, along with his co-defendants in case 480/2018, are facing the trumped-up charges of “membership of a terrorist group” and “insulting the president.” On 9 February 2019, a judge extended Sidky’s pre-trial detention for another 45 days.