The North Cairo Court rejected on Saturday the appeal filed by writer and journalist Ahmed Nagy against his two-year prison sentence which was issued in February. Nagy faces charges of harming public morale.
Nagy was referred to the criminal court in November 2015 after he published a chapter of his book “The Use of Life” in Akhbar Al-Adab newspaper. Despite the acquittal decision that was issued in Nagy’s favour in January, the prosecution appealed the verdict and sentenced him to two years in prison.
The detained writer and journalist was held on charges of writing obscene and explicit sexual content. The editor-in-chief of Akhbar Al-Adab, Tarek Al-Taher, was fined EGP 10,000 in the same case.
In April, the United Group, comprised of lawyers and rights advocates, in cooperation with Nagy’s family filed an appeal against the imprisonment verdict.
Egyptian law penalises artists and writers who publish content that violates public morale with a fine that ranges between EGP 5,000 and EGP 10,000, and a prison sentence that does not exceed two years. Nagy received the maximum penalty in the case.
Several rights organisations said that the verdict was unconstitutional as it violated freedom of thought and expression which is constitutionally guaranteed. Press Syndicate board member Khaled Al-Balshy previously said that everyone has the right to express their opinions. He also considered the verdict an explicit control on the writers’ imagination.
The international writers association, PEN, severely condemned the imprisonment of Nagy and heavily criticised the deterioration of freedom of expression in Egypt. Nagy received the PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write award in May.