Jailed Egyptian blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad is a prisoner of conscience who should be released
Amnesty International has called for the immediate release of the imprisoned Egyptian blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad and criticised Egypt’s military rulers for a continuing pattern of abuse after his imprisonment was confirmed in a military retrial today.
The blogger, who is considered by Amnesty to be a prisoner of conscience, had his three-year sentence reduced to two years after a retrial before a military court earlier today. He was imprisoned in April for criticising the post-Mubarak military authorities on his Facebook page and for supposedly “spreading lies and rumours about the armed forces” on his blog.
On top of his conviction and two-year sentence today, Maikel was fined 200 Egyptian Pounds and required to pay 300 Egyptian Pounds in legal fees for a lawyer appointed for him by the military court (a sum of around £53). He had refused legal representation in protest over his trial before a military court.
Maikel has been on hunger strike since August in protest against his imprisonment and his trial before a military court, surviving on liquids. Recently, military officials have reportedly asked him to apologise to Supreme Council of the Armed Forces for his writings but he refused. Amnesty opposes the trial of civilians by military courts and considers these trials unfair as they violate defendant’s rights to a trial before an independent and impartial tribunal.
Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui said:
“The use of military courts against those who peacefully express their opinions to put them behind bars as a punishment shows that little has changed since President Hosni Mubarak resigned.
“Maikel Nabil Sanad should be released immediately and unconditionally. He is a prisoner of conscience who should never have been prosecuted in the first place.”
Maikel’s father, Ibrahim Sanad, told Amnesty International:
“My son has been sentenced today because he told the truth about what had happened in Tahrir Square [during the 2011 uprising].
“We Egyptians are facing injustice and inequality by the armed forces which say something and do something totally different."
Maikel Nabil Sanad remains determined to protest his imprisonment, and told his brother Mark shortly after the verdict: “I am not better than those who have died or lost their eyes.”
- Take action with Amnesty over military trials and mistreatment of civilians in Egypt