After excerpts from Ahmed Naji’s novel Istikhdam al-Hayat, or Using Life, were published in a literary newspaper, a reader brought charges against the author and said that reading sexually explicit passages caused him distress and heart palpitations. An Egyptian court has now sentenced the author to two years in jail for public indecency. Notably, Naji was first acquitted by a court in Egypt on the basis of free speech, however the prosecution appealed. He was retried and convicted.
It is still not clear why the second court overturned the first court’s ruling that the book was protected by free speech. It is also not clear why the solution to heart palpitations for this reader wasn’t to stop reading.
The newspaper’s editor was ordered to pay a 10,000 Egyptian pound ($1,277.14) fine.
Egypt has seen a dramatic rollback on civil liberties under el-Sisi. In Egypt, a teenager was jailed for cartoons of Muhammad and a leading businessman was attacked for a cartoon of Micky Mouse with a beard. Then there was the three-year sentence given Amr Nohan, a 22-year-old law graduate for posting a Facebook image of el-Sisi with Mickey Mouse-style cartoon ears. A leading cartoonist Islam Gawish, 26, was arrested in Egypt by the hyper sensitive el-Sisi government. It is part of an assault on free speech that has been particularly pronounced in Islamic nations, which advance religious-based values of decency and criminalize acts deemed blasphemy.
11 thoughts on “Egyptian Court Sentences Author To Two Years For Public Indecency For Sexually Explicit Passages In Novel”
OTOH, if Egypt doesn’t nip the obscenity in the bud, they will end up just like the Western World and Japan, where our men become porn addicts and sit around all day playing with themselves instead of getting married and raising kids.
And remember, even in the United States, OBSCENE pornography is NOT protected under the First Amendment.
I agree with Karen S in her comment above. I was a tourist in Egypt 36 years ago when it was quite fun and somewhat free and open.
“a reader brought charges against the author and said that reading sexually explicit passages caused him distress and heart palpitations.” Wow. Sounds steamy. Is it translated into English?
Egypt used to be a tourist destination and archeological treasure. Now it’s just joining the rest of the ME in its slide towards extremism and intolerance. So sad. My Egyptian dance teacher said you could go out into the desert in Egypt, where it’s perfectly flat with no mountains, and lie out on the sand at night. You could see the stars from fingertip to fingertip, and they were so bright because there was not a lot of light pollution.
Most countries in the world do not value free speech, religious freedom, or tolerance for other ways of life. We are so lucky to live here.
Some places on earth cannot have civil rights.
What’s Egypt’s statute of limitations on double jeopardy? How horrible it would be to know acquittal does not mean what we know it to mean. Once you get charged and are acquitted it would be time to leave the country before they change their minds.
P.S. Today the “public cleaning” is almost exclusively done by libraries and school boards. Their cleansing has been VERY recent.
Let us not gloat too much. It is not too long ago that certain sexually explicit novels could not be sold in some of our states.
While these throwback barbarians are anything but rational and sane, wouldn’t it make more sense, even to these underdeveloped and primitive beings, that the excerpts from this individual’s novel only saw the light of day due to the newspaper’s decision, or that of its editor, to actually publish and distribute this offensive work? But for the publication and distribution of said work, the offended reader would’ve never incurred the distress and heart palpitations; he would’ve never had access to these erotic and un-Islamic thoughts. Well, at least, not from this newspaper; however, if these excerpts come from a NOVEL, who published that novel? Why not go after him, while you’re at it? If I had to find guilt SOMEWHERE, I’d go after the newspaper’s editor and novel’s publisher, but, I assume, that’s too logical.
I can only imagine how long the heart palpitations guy read, and re-read, the offensive article in the newspaper.
Come along and sing a song and join our jamboree.
M I C K E Y M o u s e.
Forever ever ever hold em high!
High, High! High!
I know there is a contest for worst sex scenes in books. I should check to see if he won.
Could I file suit against George R. R. Martin for how bad his sex scenes are? I was given the 5 volume set of Game of Thrones for Xmas and I am halfway thru the 2nd book. Hasn’t been a decent sex scene yet. Even a 10 year old would not find it erotic.
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