Egypt: Writer’s prison sentence suspended pending final verdict
Egypt’s highest court suspended the two-year prison sentence against writer Ahmed Naji who was imprisoned for “violating public decency” by publishing “sexually explicit” writings featured in his novel that also appeared as excerpts in a literary magazine, reported Reuters on 18 December 2016.
The court temporarily suspended the writer’s sentence and was set to be released a few hours after the decision. However, Naji was placed on a travel ban pending a final verdict during a hearing set for 1 January 2017 to decide on the writer’s fourth and latest appeal. If the appeal is granted than Naji will be allowed a second and final retrial; if the appeal is not granted, then he will return to prison.
Naji has appealed his sentence three times already, the latest attempt of which happened in late November 2016. The writer’s original case was acquitted in January 2016, but the prosecution appealed the ruling successfully and a retrial the next month led to his two-year prison sentence.
UPDATE: Naji was released from prison on 22 December 2016. On 1 January 2017, the court decided to postpone the appeal hearing until 2 April 2017.
» Daily News Egypt – 1 January 2017
Nagy’s appeal on 2-year prison verdict adjourned to 2 April
» PEN International – 22 December 2016
Writer Ahmed Naji released but face appeal hearing in January
» Al Jazeera – 22 December 2016
Egypt novelist Ahmed Naji released from prison
» Reuters – 18 December 2016
Egyptian court suspends author’s jail sentence over sexually explicit book – lawyer
» Ahram Online – 18 December 2016
Court of Cassation suspends two-year prison sentence for novelist Ahmed Naji pending final verdict
» Mada Masr – 18 December 2016
Court suspends sentence against writer Ahmed Naji, release imminent: Lawyer
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» 28 November 2016: Egypt: Write remains imprisoned after court rejects third appeal
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» 23 February 2016: Egypt: Author imprisoned for ‘violating public modesty’