More Than 6 Months On, Novelist Ahmed Naji Awaits Scheduling of Appeal

It was more than six months ago that novelist Ahmed Naji was sentenced to two years in prison for an excerpt of his Using Life that ran in Akhbar al-Adab magazine:

najiFor these six months and more, the young novelist has been in Tora Agricultural Prison for a creative work published in August 2014. The charge against his novel excerpt was that it harmed “public morality” in Egypt.

The February 20 verdict was issued based on Article 178 of Egypt’s penal code. This, supporters say, “despite a motion submitted by Naji’s defense team on December 12 to establish the unconstitutionality of the provision, and despite an earlier acquittal of Naji in court on January 2 due to an inability to find any criminal intent.”

The next court session in Naji’s case will be on Saturday, August 27. Supporters are asking anyone who is in Egypt to attend:

We invite all writers, journalists, and those interested in freedom of expression and creativity to attend the Bulaq Abu Al-Aila Misdemeanour court session scheduled for Saturday, August 27 to hear the defense’s motion for a stay of the two year sentence issued against writer#AhmedNaji for his novel “Use of Life.” The Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) had filed a motion for a stay of execution in the case. In late April, Naji’s defense team also filed an appeal before the Court of Cassation against the two year sentence handed down on February 20; the appeal has not yet been scheduled.

Also read: Mai Sadany’s “Ahmed Naji: Six Months of Detention is Six Months Too Many

The novel excerpt that got Naji his two-year sentence, trans. Ben Koerber.