Egypt poet refuses to pay court fine

Egypt poet refuses to pay court fine:

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.

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.
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.

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?
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.