Egyptian Blogger Imprisoned for Facebook Comment on Hunger Strike

September 1, 2011

Image via Facebook

An honest voice of the Egyptian uprising is in danger of being silenced unless the Egyptian government listens to domestic and international pressure to release  prisoner of conscience Maikel Nabil Sanad.

Sanad, whose Facebook postings criticized abuses by the Egyptian military, began a hunger strike on Aug. 23. This week, his family told Amnesty International that his health has greatly deteriorated.

The blogger started the hunger strike to protest his detention in an Egyptian prison north of Cairo. Sanad was arrested on March 28 at his home in Cairo, tried in a military court on April 10 and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for publicly insulting the army through comments he made on Facebook, and for allegedly spreading lies and rumors about the armed forces on his blog.

He is one of thousands of Egyptians tried for political activity before military courts since the resignation of former President Hosni Mubarak.  Amnesty International considers him a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned solely for legitimate exercise of his right to freedom of expression.

At first Sanad refused to eat but continued to drink water and take his medication. His family says that from today he will no longer take water or medication. He had chronic health conditions, his family says, that are worsening during his detention.  Prison officials have blocked his family from visits, telling them he doesn’t want to see them.  They think prison officials are attempting to prevent them from learning that he is ill or that he is being ill-treated.

Egyptians have rallied to support Sanad and many others who are speaking out publicly of their concerns about the pace of Egyptian reform.

Like Sanad, many of the activists know what they risk.  Long before his arrest, Sanad told friends that he expected to be arrested for his criticisms of the military.  And yet, these activists continue to bravely speak out, demonstrate in public and dare the military to arrest them all.  What they continue to ask for us is that we stand in solidarity with them.

Take action to help Maikel Nabil Sanad 

• Call for Maikel Nabil Sanad’s immediate and unconditional release;
• Urge the Egyptian authorities to ensure that Maikel Nabil Sanad receives adequate medical care;
• Call on the Egyptian authorities to try any civilian charged with an internationally recognizable criminal offense promptly in a civilian court in line with fair trial standards, and not in military courts, or release them.

Please write letters and send faxes to:

Military General Attorney
Major-General Medhat Radwan
Military Judicial Department
Cairo, EGYPT
Fax: 011 202 2 412 0980 (ask for fax)
Salutation: Dear General Attorney

Director of Military Judiciary
Major-General Ahmed Abd Allah
Military Judicial Department
Cairo, EGYPT
Fax: 011 202 2 402 4468 OR 011 202 2 411
Salutation: Dear Director

Download the Urgent Action (PDF) for more details.