International publishers call for presidential pardon for Khaled Lotfy

International publishers call for presidential pardon for Khaled Lotfy

International publishers are calling for a presidential pardon to free imprisoned Egyptian publisher and bookseller Khaled Lotfy.

On 24th December 2019, the Egyptian Military Court of Cassation rejected Lotfy’s final appeal against his five-year prison sentence for publishing an Arabic language Egyptian edition of Uri Bar Joseph’s The Angel: The Egyptian Spy Who Saved Israel

The International Publishers Association (IPA) says only a presidential pardon can now free Lofty from prison. 

Kristenn Einarsson, chair of the IPA’s Freedom to Publish Committee, said: "It is incomprehensible that Khaled Lotfy can be imprisoned, not only for publishing a book, but for publishing a new version of a book that was already available. His only chance of freedom is a presidential pardon, and we implore President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to release Khaled so that he can be reunited with his family."

Lotfy received the IPA’s Prix Voltaire in May 2019, one month after he was sentenced by a military court to five years in prison for spreading rumours and revealing military secrets as a result of publishing The Angel. 

The book was originally translated into Arabic by the Lebanon-based Arab Scientific Publishers and had been available in Egypt as a relatively expensive import. It was also turned into a successful Netflix film under the title "The Angel", and is available internationally, including in Egypt. Around 2,000 unsold printed copies of the Egyptian edition were destroyed by Lotfy ahead of the military trial, said the IPA.