Nov 22 2009
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Egypt's first graphic novel banned, publisher fined LE 5,000
"I'll appeal the verdict. I will not accept [a punishment] for something that I did not do," Magdy L Shafee, author of the banned graphic novel, "Metro," told Daily News Egypt.
Qasr El-Nil misdemeanors court on Saturday found Shafee and "Metro" publisher Mohamed El-Sharqawy guilty of printing and distributing a publication infringing public decency, and handed down a LE 5,000 fine against both of them.
Shafee told Daily News Egypt that he was aware that sections of Metro -- which contains limited content of a sexual nature -- might offend some readers and that it was for this reason that a " for adults only" warning was put on the front cover. Shafee added that the comic's content does not mean that it should be removed from the market.
Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) director Gamal Eid said that "there is no country which exercises liberty and bans novels," adding that the court objected to some of the "crude language" used in the novel despite the fact that "this is the exact same language used in the street."
Eid also added that defense lawyers submitted to the courts images published in daily newspaper Rose El-Youssef which were "more lewd" than the graphics in "Metro" that the court objected to.
Defense lawyers had argued both the unconstitutionality of the articles under which these charges were brought, and that no violation occurred because the events described in the work occur in an artistic and dramatic context.
ANHRI was one of three human rights organizations that condemned the verdict "as a serious setback to the right to creativity and freedom of expression."
The organizations' statement, issued Saturday, added, "Courtrooms are not the place for literary criticism." -Additional reporting by Omnia Al Desoukie
By Sarah Carr
© Daily News Egypt 2009
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