Egyptian intellectuals campaign against jailing of novelist

CAIRO - Egyptian writers, artists and film-makers have launched a public campaign for greater freedom of creativity and expression following the jailing of a novelist on charges of violating "public modesty" through his writing.

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In a video campaign launched Thursday, a well-known Egyptian screenwriter said the sentence against novelist Ahmed Naji came as an "extreme shock" and expressed concern for the future of art in Egypt.

"If this is how it is, my published novels contain things that would put me in prison too," bestselling author Alaa al-Aswany said.

Naji's detention follows jail sentences against TV presenter Islam Behery and writer Fatma Naoot, both for insulting Islam.

The growing movement by Egyptian intellectuals protesting the cases also includes two former culture ministers, and members of the committee that wrote Egypt's current constitution.


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