Ahmed Naji was sentenced in February 2016 to two years in prison for ‘violating public modesty’ in relation to the publication of excerpts from his 2014 novel Istikhdam al-Hayat (The Use of Life) in Akhbar al-Adab magazine, also in 2014. Naji has now served almost seven months of his sentence. Two motions for a stay of execution filed by his lawyers have now been rejected.
A successful stay of execution would have allowed Naji to be free pending his appeal. A date has not yet been set for his appeal, despite it being filed in late April.
PEN continues to call for Naji’s release. We believed that his imprisonment is a violation of the right to freedom of expression, as provided under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Egypt is a state party, and under articles 65 and 67 Egypt’s constitution, which guarantee freedom of thought and opinion and freedom of artistic and literary creation.
For further background information, please visit the PEN International website.
Send birthday greetings
To mark Ahmed Naji’s birthday on 15 September, please tweet, write letters of support and solidarity, or send him a birthday card. You can tweet your messages using the #NajiBirthday hashtag or you can send a letter or birthday card to [email protected] or c/o Writers at Risk Programme, English PEN, 60 Farringdon Road, London, EC1R 3GA
Share details of Ahmed Naji’s case on social media
Please use the hashtag #NajiBirthday on 15 September, and #FreeNaji or #FreeAhmedNaji going forward.
Write to the Egyptian authorities
Please also send appeals to the Egyptian authorities:
- Expressing concern at the continued imprisonment of Naji and rejection of two requests for a stay of execution pending his appeal;
- Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Naji and all other writers and journalists currently detained in Egypt in connection with their peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression, in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Egypt is a state party.
- Urging that Article 178 of the penal code, which criminalises content that violates public morals, is not used to impose restrictions which exceed those that may be imposed under international law;
Abdel Fattah al-Sisi,
Office of the President,
Al Ittihadia Palace,
Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt,
Fax: +202 2 391 1441
Email: [email protected]
Salutation: Your Excellency
|Minister of Justice
Mohamed Hossam Abdel Rahim
Ministry of Justice,
Fax: +202 2 795 8103
Email: [email protected]
Salutation: Dear Minister
And copy to the Embassy of Egypt in your country. You can find embassy addresses here
Please inform PEN of any action you take, and of any responses you receive.