Jailed novelist and journalist Ahmed Nagy is scheduled to appear before the Boulaq Aboul Ela Misdemeanour Appeal Court on 16 July for a plea session to suspend his two-year prison sentence.
The plea calls for suspending the sentence until an appeal against the verdict itself is reviewed by the court. The defence lawyers argue that the verdict is marred by faulty application of the law.
Nagy was sentenced in February on charges of publishing and writing “obscene sexual content”.
The court also ordered editor of state-owned monthly literary newspaper Akhbar Al-Adab, Tarek Al-Taher, to pay a fine of EGP 10,000 after a chapter of Nagy’s novel ‘The Use of Life’ was published in the literary journal, a subsidiary of state-owned Akhbar Al-Youm. The novel was previously published by Dar El-Tanweer publishing house.
In several statements and a conference, journalists, intellectuals, and public figures called for solidarity with Nagy and other writers and scholars who had been prosecuted due to the content of their work.
The sentence was internationally condemned as well and a campaign in solidarity with Nagy, championed by the writers association PEN, called for the release of the novelist and the amendment of Article 178 of the Egyptian Penal Code under “which he was sentenced to comply with the country’s legal protections for artistic and literary freedom”, according to PEN.
Nagy, the 30-year-old journalist, columnist, and prominent blogger in the golden era of blogs and citizen journalists at the beginning of the millennium, was awarded on 16 May the PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award for his “contributions and sacrifice in defence of free expression”.