It’s been a terrible year politically, but finally a bit of good news: Ahmed Naji, who I wrote about here, is free. His treatment was like something out of the Theatre of the Absurd: he was imprisoned for giving a reader palpitations – a thinly veiled excuse for persecuting a critic of the Egyptian government.
Earlier this year, Naji won the 2017 PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award, in part to publicize his case. PEN America’s campaign to get him released also included a letter to the Egyptian government signed by over 120 well-known writers and artists.
Suzanne Nossel, executive director of PEN America, says, “This is overdue but excellent news. The spectacle of Ahmed Naji being jailed for a chapter of a novel was among the most egregious affronts to creative freedom in Egypt.”