A Cairo misdemeanor court rejected on Saturday writer Ahmed Naji's appeal against a two-year prison sentence for publishing a “sexually explicit article” in a literary state newspaper.
Naji was sentenced in February by a Cairo appeals court for publishing parts of his novel The Use of Life in the cultural newspaper Akhbar El-Adab.
This is Naji's third appeal to suspend the implementation of the sentence.
In late April, Naji's defence team filed an appeal before the Court of Cassation, though a court session to hear the motion has not yet been set.
The prosecutor accused Naji of publishing “a text that spewed sexual lust and transient pleasures, using his mind and pen to violate public decency and good morals, inciting promiscuity.”
The initial decision to refer Naji to court came after one of the newspaper's readers filed a legal complaint claiming that reading the text caused him to “experience heart palpitations and an extreme feeling of sickness along with a sharp drop in blood pressure.”
An online campaign titled “Egypt art on trial” has been launched in solidarity with Naji and stands “against the existence of the charge of ‘violating public modesty,’ and that Article 178 of the criminal code restricts the freedom of writing and creativity, contradicts the Egyptian constitution and should be amended.”