Cairo court suspends novelist's prison term pending appeal

The lawyer for Egyptian novelist Ahmed Naji, who is imprisoned for violating public modesty, says a court has ordered his client's two-year sentence suspended pending review of his appeal.

Lawyer Mahmoud Othman tells The Associated Press on Sunday that Naji is expected to be released following the ruling of a Cairo Court of Cassation.

Naji was initially acquitted of the charge that he published a sexually explicit excerpt of a novel he authored which prosecutors said violated public modesty.

His acquittal was appealed by prosecutors and a higher court in February sentenced him to two years in prison.

That ruling was decried as part of a government crackdown on freedom of speech and expression.

Othman says the court will review Naji's appeal on Jan. 1.