The Cassation Court ordered on Sunday to adjourn the appeal filed by novelist Ahmed Nagy on his two-year prison sentence on charges of writing and publishing “obscene sexual content” to 2 April.
On 18 December, Nagy was released pending trial. However, the court prohibited him from travelling until the ruling in his appeal against his prison sentence was issued. The court will decide whether the two-year prison sentence should be upheld or dismissed.
Nagy and editor-in-chief of Akhbar Al-Adab newspaper Tarek Al-Taher were referred to criminal court for publishing an article from Nagy’s novel Use of Life in the newspaper. Although the novel was published in 2014, Nagy’s imprisonment came after the chapter was published in the newspaper. Al-Taher was fined EGP 10,000.
Nagy was handed the prison sentence in February 2016, after he was initially acquitted from charges in January 2016.
In several statements, intellectuals, journalists, and activists announced solidarity with Nagy and all writers and scholars who are detained due to their work.
Articles 47 and 67 in the Constitution stipulate that the right to freedom of expression in arts and entertainment is guaranteed. According to several activists, Nagy’s imprisonment is unconstitutional.
The international writers association PEN severely condemned the imprisonment of Nagy and the overall crackdown on freedom of expression. In May 2016, Nagy received the PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write award.