Novelist Ahmed Naji wins appeal against two-year sentence, court orders retrial

El-Sayed Gamal El-Din , Sunday 21 May 2017

The novelist was originally convicted of publishing a 'sexually flagrant article' in a state-owned cultural journal

Ahmed naji
A file photo of Egyptian novelist Ahmed Naji (Photo:Facebook)

Novelist Ahmed Naji has won an appeal against his two-year prison sentence for publishing material of a sexually provocative nature, with a court ordering a retrial of the case.

A Cairo court of misdemeanour cassation ruled in favour of Naji on Sunday, ordering that the previous conviction be cancelled and the case heard by a different court.

Naji was originally sentenced in February 2016 for publishing a “sexually flagrant article” in the state-owned cultural journal Akhbar Al-Adab in 2015. The article was an excerpt from Naji's novel The Guide for Using Life.

Naji began serving his sentence in Tora Prison in south Cairo. However, he appealed the sentence and was released in December 2016 pending a final ruling on his appeal.

On releasing the novelist from prison in December, a court ruled that he was banned from travel outside Egypt.

Naji was originally acquitted on all charges in January 2016. However, the prosecution successfully appealed his aquittal, winning a conviction the following month.

The initial decision to refer Naji to prosecution came after one of Akhbar Al-Adab’s readers, Hani Saleh Tawfik, filed a legal complaint claiming that the text in question caused him “to experience heart palpitations and an extreme feeling of sickness along with a sharp drop in blood pressure” due to the alleged indecency of the text.

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