A man had complained that Naji’s writings caused him heart palpitations, sickness and a drop in blood pressure. Prosecutors took the case to court, arguing that Naji’s use of “vulgar” phrases to describe genitals and sexual intercourse constituted a “disease destroying social values.”

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“Citizens can’t bring such cases to court without proving a direct and personal link to the action in question,” Mahmoud Othman, one of Naji’s lawyers, told CNN. Instead, prosecutors have been framing their cases as an offense to public morality, he said.

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