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Veteran Egyptian Writer Abaza Dies

March 17, 2002

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ Tharwat Abaza, one of Egypt’s veteran writers and a prominent newspaper columnist, died Sunday, Egypt’s Middle East News Agency reported. He was 75.

Abaza died in a Cairo hospital after a long illness, the agency reported, without elaborating. He was buried the same day.

Abaza, known as the ``aristocratic villager,″ depicted life both in the Egyptian countryside and among his aristocratic class in his writings during the 1930s and 1940s.

Among his best-known novels is ``A Man Escaping from Time,″ which was turned into a popular TV series on Egyptian television in the late 1960s. Another novel, ``A Touch of Fear,″ became an Egyptian movie. Abaza also wrote plays and short stories.

In 1974, Abaza was appointed editor of The Radio and Television weekly. He was the literature editor of Al-Ahram from 1975-1988, and a leading columnist in the pro-government daily until he died. He was also a columnist in the ruling National Democratic Party mouthpiece, the weekly Mayo.

He was chairman of the Egyptian Union of Writers until he resigned in 1997. He also served as a member of the Shura Council, a government advisory body.

In the late 1990s, Abaza sued two Egyptian journalists for libel after they criticized his opposition to the nationalization of the Suez Canal in 1956 by late President Gamal Abdul-Nasser. Journalists Amr Nassif and Gamal Fahmi were convicted and both served jail terms of up to six months.

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