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Egypt: Travel ban against writer lifted

29 June 2018

UPDATE: On 29 May 2018, Cairo Criminal Court ruled to lift the travel restrictions placed on Ahmed Naji, reported Egypt Today. The travel ban was issued against the writer in lieu of fulfilling a two-year prison sentence, according to Ahram Online

UPDATE: The northern Cairo misdemeanour court has decided it does not have jurisdiction to rule on the “harming public morality” case of Egyptian novelist Ahmed Naji and has referred the case to a criminal court instead, according to a tweet posted by the writer on 6 January 2018 and PEN America.

This article was updated on 12 January 2018 and on 29 June 2018. The original article, entitled Egypt: Writer wins appeal, court orders retrial, was published on 24 May 2017 and appears below.

A Cairo court of misdemeanour cassation ruled on 21 May 2017 in favour of writer Ahmed Naji’s appeal to cancel his initial two-year prison sentence for publishing “sexually explicit” writings in one of his novels, reported Ahram Online on 21 May 2017.

The court ordered a retrial for the writer to be heard by a different court.

Naji’s lawyer Khaled Ali said the court’s verdict shows that the writer has spent time in jail while being innocent and expressed hope that he would be acquitted in the retrial, reported Egypt Independent on 21 May 2017.

This latest appeal was Naji’s fourth appeal. The writer’s original case was acquitted in January 2016, but the prosecution appealed the ruling successfully and a retrial the next month led to his two-year prison sentence.

Naji served 10 months in prison, from February to December 2016, before being released when Egypt’s highest court suspended his sentence.

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