Egyptian publisher gets 5 years in jail over Israeli novel

Khaled Lotfi has been on trial in a military court since 2018

From left, Egyptian president Anwar Al Sadat, US president Jimmy Carter and Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin meet at Camp David in 1978. AP
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The founder of an Egyptian publishing house was jailed for five years for distributing an Arabic version of a controversial Israeli novel, his brother said on Tuesday.

The book, titled The Egyptian Spy Who Saved Israel, portrays Ashraf Marwan, the son-in-law of former Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser, as a spy for Israel.

Khaled Lotfi has been on trial in a military court since 2018 for publishing an Arabic version of the book, which is by Israeli writer Uri Bar-Joseph, two years earlier.

The publisher, accused of having “divulged military secrets”, was sentenced to five years in prison despite appealing against an initial ruling, his brother Mahmoud Lotfi told AFP.

“There is no other recourse but a presidential pardon,” he said.

Marwan, who was an adviser to president Anwar Sadat after the death of Nasser’s death in 1970, died in 2007 in London in mysterious circumstances.

Egyptian authorities arranged a grand funeral and Marwan was hailed as a hero.

A 2018 film based on the book, titled The Angel, met outrage by the Egyptian media, which slated it as a manipulation of history.