The United Group issued on Wednesday an appeal notice against the prison verdict against journalist and novelist Ahmed Naji.
The United Group, an organisation comprised of lawyers, legal researchers, and human rights advocates, submitted the appeal to the prosecution with the cooperation of Nagi’s family.
Naji’s family and lawyers representing the United Group will hold a press conference Wednesday to announce further action regarding Naji’s case.
Naji was referred to criminal court in November for a chapter of his novel, “The Use of Life”, which was published in Akhbar El-Adab. The prosecution argued that the published work “violates the sanctity of public morals and general ethics”.
On 20 February, Boulaq Criminal Court sentenced Naji to two years in prison on charges of publishing and writing “obscene sexual content”.
The court also ordered for the editor of Akhbar Al-Adab, Tarek Al-Taher, to pay a fine of EGP 10,000 for publishing Naji’s work in the literary journal. The novel was previously published by Dar El-Tanweer publishing house.
The sentences handed to Naji and Al-Taher have received widespread condemnation and have been criticised for being unconstitutional by many politicians, writers, media figures, associations, and parties. However, the biggest boost for the campaign in defence of Naji came when the minister of culture expressed his solidarity with the duo.
In early March, Naji’s defence lawyers filed an appeal with the hope of suspending his sentence, arguing that the verdict is marred by faulty application of the law.
On Sunday, the United Group also sent a draft of the Torture Prevention Law to the parliament speaker Ali Abdul Aal and 30 MPs representing parliamentary groups to solicit their official comment.
The draft law consists of 17 articles that include definitions of torture according to Egyptian and International laws.
The fourth article states that officials running detention centres should be punished by imprisonment and fired if they violate their job duties.
The fifth article obliges the Egyptian government to provide psychological, social, and physical rehabilitation to victims of torture.
The United Group was born out of a law firm founded in Cairo by Karima Ali Hussein in 1941. Hussein is one of only five women to have graduated from the Faculty of Law at Cairo University.
Currently, the United Group works under a legal system that supports opening Egypt to international markets by adopting liberal economic policies as models of operation.