Court rejects request to release novelist Ahmed Naji

A Cairo court rejected on Saturday a request for a stay of execution of the two-year sentence handed down to novelist Ahmed Naji.

Naji is currently serving a two-year sentence on charges of publishing "sexually explicit" excerpts from his novel Istikhdam al-Hayah (Using Life) in the state-owned cultural newspaper Akhbar Al-Adab.

The newspaper's editor was ordered to pay a LE10,000 fine for publishing the article.

Naji's defense had submitted an appeal to the prosecution in July but it was denied as well. Another appeal was rejected in late August by the North Cairo court.

The case dates back to 2014, after a reader filed a complaint claiming that the text caused him to "experience heart palpitations and an extreme feeling of sickness along with a sharp drop in blood pressure.”

Naji, was initially acquitted in his first trial in January. However, the prosecutor appealed, leading to this sentence in February, as he was accused of violating public modesty.



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