Sondheim, Roth condemn imprisonment of Egyptian write
In this undated image Egyptian author Ahmed Naji poses for a photo in Cairo, Egypt. Naji was sentenced to two years in jail on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016, by a Cairo appeals court for publishing a sexually explicit excerpt of his novel that prosecutors said violated “public modesty.” Naji was initially acquitted by another court, but prosecutors appealed the verdict. (Yasmin Hosam El Din via AP)
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NEW YORK: Woody Allen, Philip Roth and Stephen Sondheim are among more than 120 authors, artists and journalists calling for the Egyptian government to drop charges against Ahmed Naji, who’s serving a two-year sentence for the sexual content in his novel “The Use of Life.”

The literary and human rights organization PEN America announced Monday that authors Robert Caro, Michael Chabon and Chimamanda Adichie also added their names to a letter in support of Naji.

PEN Executive Director Suzanne Nossel said in a statement that Naji’s imprisonment was a “blow to the dynamic literary and arts scene in Egypt.”

PEN will honor Naji next week at its annual gala, where his brother, Mohamed Naji, will accept the PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award on his behalf.

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