Africa, Egypt, Human Rights

Egyptian Author Ahmed Naji Jailed for Sexy Novel

Author and novelist, Ahmed Naji, prosecuted on March 19th on charges of “violating public modesty”, owing to the fifth chapter of his novel, “the Guide for Using Life”, which was published in the magazine Akhbar al-Adab.

Naji had published in the magazine Akhbar al-Adab in its issue No. 1097 the chapter of a novel called “the Guide for Using Life”, later on published by Dar Attanwir. The complaint was filed by a citizen who complained about a certain passage, giving him “distress and heart palpitations”.

In this regard, the prosecutor said that “the accusation premised is valid for both suspects and is sufficient for submission to the criminal court because of the written material that the accused had published, as it ignites transient Lust and ephemeral thrill, and eventually utilized his mind and pen for a malignant drift violating the sanctity of morals and good ethics.”

The prosecutors added that “the plaintiff has violated the public ideals that are agreed upon, and a butcher is born therein, with his pen that depicts the two sexes having intercourse plainly and will soon publish the poison of his pen with a novel or article…”

The prosecutors have also pointed out that the second plaintiff, Tariq Tahir, the newspaper’s editor in chief, confirmed it, when asked by the prosecution, and confirmed that “he reviewed the title without reading the full text and that he wouldn’t have allowed its publishing if read in detail.”

On the other hand, “Le Monde”, the French newspaper, devoted two pages in the issue dated February 28th to analyze the issue of political and cultural dimensions and asserted, “this conviction reveals, beyond all reasonable doubt, the real opponent that threatens the current Egyptian regime – the intellectuals, writers, and artists.”

The International PEN Club denounced the sentence, and rejected all the laws restricting the freedom of creativity and called for the need to change them. Members of the European parliament have issued a draft resolution demanding the release of Naji. Tunisian intellectuals have also issued a statement in which they considered the sentence of Naji a “farce”.

Amid the locally, regionally, and globally widespread support, the court published the details of its ruling in the electronic newspapers “al-Ahram” and al-Yawm Sabii, which is a legal and human calamity, as they are prosecuting intentions instead of actual crimes: “he used obscene words and phrases and started repeating them throughout the chapters’ lines…”

The court, in this respect, is not prosecuting him based on what was published, but on the consequences of what he published, and traced his personal Facebook account and quoted some of his articles after his first acquittal.

Naji, still faces imprisonment for the third week in a pending case before the Court of Cassation, perhaps a shred of reason would penetrate into this institution bloated with its limitless authority.

About Imad Guemmah

Imad is a high school teacher, an experienced academic writer and translator from Morocco who is equally adored for his incisive articles and blog posts, which often take hard looks at a plethora of subjects, such as cultural studies, mass media, the philosophy of education and psychology. His work is always challenging and always thought-provoking. Imad can turn the most boring topics into a work of art worthy of being marveled at.

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