Egyptian writer Ahmed Naji stands trial over sexually explicit text

Ahram Online , Saturday 14 Nov 2015

Ahmed Naji
File Photo: Journalist Ahmed Naji (Photo: Al-Ahram)

A writer and a newspaper editor both faced trial on Saturday on charges of public indecency for publishing what prosecutors describe as a "sexually flagrant article" in the state-owned cultural newspaper Akhbar Al-Adab last year.

The trial was postponed to 12 December by the end of the session.
Although described as an article by the prosecution, the text in question was in fact a chapter of a novel by Naji called The Usage of Life, recently published by Tanweer publishing house in Cairo. The text appeared in an August 2014 issue of Akhbar Al-Adab before the full novel was released by Tanweer.
Naji and the editor-in-chief of Akhbar Al-Adab, Tarek El-Taher, were referred to criminal court on 2 November for publishing a "flagrant erotic article... that spewed sexual lust and transient pleasures," according to the prosecution's memo to the court.
Naji "used his mind and pen to violate public decency and good morals, inciting promiscuity," prosecutors allege.
The case has stirred anger among Egyptian intellecturals who regard it as a violation of freedom of expression.
"I would like to assert that the published text is fictional and all the events and actions in it are from my imagination. It is not a journalistic essay and I'm asking my fellow journalists to explain this difference," Naji said on Facebook following his referred to criminal court, adding that "the world is full of surprises and the distinction between reality and fiction has become very tiring.”
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