A renowned Egyptian poet, Abdel Moati Hegazi, has refused to pay a court fine of US $3,500 following his conviction for insulting a religious extremist, Yusuf al Badari, depicting him as an enemy of freedom of thought, expression and thought.If there is any kind of collection to help out Abdel Moati Hegazi pay his fine (or replace his furniture), I would like to donate to it and publicize it. And if there is a fund to get lawyers to go after al-Badari in any way possible, or simply make his life a living hell, I would like to donate to that, too.
His colleagues at the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (Hrinfo) salute him for standing firm on his principles. They also call on all advocates of free speech in Egypt to extend solidarity to Hegazi and at the same time resist actions by the likes of Badari.
Following his refusal to pay the fine, a court in southern Cairo set aside 8 August as the date when Hegazi’s home furniture will be sold.
The renowned poet’s case is among a string of insult lawsuits brought against writers, thinkers and poets by al Badari. Ironically, the religious extremist would sometimes sue people for insulting God.
I am not sure what Hegazi called al-Badari, but surely a public figure like al-Badari is exempt from the protection given ordinary people. Or is that not the case in Egypt?