Süddeutsche Zeitung OPINION Monday, 4. April 2011Munich page 4
Maikel Nabil Sanad - critical blogger of the regime suspiciously eyed by the army
On the day Egypt rejoiced a nightmare began for him. After weeks of revolution the army had chased the dictator Hosni Mubarak away and had taken over. But on Feb 14, 2011, Maikel Nabil Sanad noted with shock in his blog: „My biggest enemy, the former Minister of Defense, is now in the position of the President. I am a dead man.“
Sanad is still alive, but that the former Minister of Defense, Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, head of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces, would go on keeping an eye on him, is not surprising. Not only does Sanad call himself „liberal, feminist, pro-Israel, atheist“ and a lot of other things. But he is above all the first conscientious objector of Egypt. The country has just voted on a referendum for a provisional constitution and is supposed to get a complete new constitution. But so far Article 58 still stipulates that the defense of the country is a „holy duty“ and that military service is obligatory. That is why, when the army let him go last November finding him unfit for duty, this was merely a way of opting out but not the implementation of alternative community service.
The young copt, born 1985 in Assiut in Upper Egypt, a studied veterinarian living in Cairo, has been a blogger for the last six year. He is one of the most outspoken critics of the post-revolutionary military junta. Even after having been freed from military duty he kept attacking military service with the help of his „No to Compulsory Military Service Movement“. He was arrested, beaten, threatened, but did not give in. In his blog he published information on how during the protests and even after the toppling of Mubarak critics of Mubarak like himself were arrested, taken away and tortured by the army, how women were humiliated by „virginity tests“, and that the army and the people were not „one hand“, as people kept shouting in good faith in Tahrir square. He wrote: „The revolution toppled the dictator but not the dictatorship.“
Especially this last blog was too much for the generals: At the end of March Sanad was again arrested and is now facing trial before a military court for „insulting the military institution and publishing false news about it and disturbing the public security“. Critical voices see this as proof of troubling habits continuing: Up to today the Armed Council has not lifted the emergency law that allows for quick trying of accused. The Egyptian bloggers are duly alarmed: The new power-elite they fear disposes of its critics with just the same methods as its predecessor. Thousands of civilians have been arrested since the days of the revolution and convicted by military trials. Sanad however could be the first one to have to go to prison for expressing an opinion: that seems like the writing on the wall.
The Egyptian revolution is considered to be a triumph of „idealism over realism“ as the blogger wrote only a short while ago. One can‘t be sure that it was not only a partial victory.
(translated from original German version - print edition)
What you can do to help Free Maikel Nabil!
There is not much time. The military court has postponed the trial only until Wednesday, April 6. We have to fear that Maikel Nabil will be sentenced if we don't take action immediately!
1. Armed Forces
Post a comment on the Facebook Page of the SCAF and demand that Maikel Nabil is set free. Point out that the freedom of speech and opinion is guaranteed by the Interim Constitutional Declaration!
Send a message via twitter to @Cabinet_EG and ask them to support the demand to set Maikel Nabil free.
Post a comment on the Cabinet's Facebook Page الصفحة الرسمية لرئاسة مجلس الوزراء المصرى
Write a mail to PM Sharaf email@example.com - On the web-site of the Government the Prime Ministers says: “It will be a pleasure to receive your communications through this e-mail." Give him the pleasure.
3. Join the Facebook Group Free Maikel Nabil Sanad الحرية لمايكل نبيل سند
Post comments, show your support, get friends to join, so the number of followers become impressing for those who think they can detain Maikel Nabil without facing resistance.
4. Write to Hillary Clinton
Send a message to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton via the website of the US State Dept. and ask urgently for supporting the demand to free Maikel Nabil. The US Dept. on Wednesday issued a statement saying the US was deeply concerned about the arrest of Bahrain blogger Mahmood. The next day Mahmood came free. - Now we need the same support for the Egyptian blogger Maikel Nabil! The US must make sure it is not paying the army of Egypt for arresting bloggers and violating the right of freedom of speech!
Good luck to him. Good luck to us all.