Petition update

Update 1: Naji Remains in Jail

The Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP)

Mar 25, 2016 — Dear Colleagues,

Thank you for all of you who have signed and shared this petition. We would like to update you on the case

Ahmed Naji remains in Tora Prison, despite efforts by his lawyers to secure his release pending his appeal. A plea to suspend his two-year prison sentence was filed on March 1.

On March 7, the court released its reasoning in the verdict against Naji, claiming that creative expression is limited by religion, tradition, and moral values.

Naji's case has garnered worldwide attention and support, being covered in outlets like the Guardian, the Washington Post, and CNN. Egyptian Minister of Culture Helmy al-Namnam attended a press conference at the Journalists Syndicate held in solidarity with Naji on February 25, at which he argued that literature that challenges social norms does not justify imprisonment, and that it was the man who filed the lawsuit against Naji, not Naji himself, who had harmed public morality.

Seven of the 50 officials charged with drafting Egypt’s 2014 constitution issued a statement condemning Naji’s sentence, as did prominent Egyptian columnist Ibrahim Eissa. Fifteen Egyptian rights organizations issued a statement on February 21 calling the ruling “a warning sign that freedom of expression and art are in danger,” and the Egyptian Publishers Union called for his release. Human Rights group FIDH released a statement condemning the verdict against Naji and saying Egyptian civil society is being "lowered into hell."

For regular updates on the case we recommend following the following sources on social media:

Twitter: @EgyptArtOnTrial



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