October 08, 2011

Britian and Germany demand release of blogger Maikel Nabil

Both the British and the German government have demanded from the Egyptian Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) the immediate release of blogger Maikel Nabil who has been on hunger strike for more than 40 days and is in serious danger of dying.

Nabil was arrested on March 28 and sentenced in absentia of both him and his lawyers to 3 years in prison for 'insulting the army' with a critical blogpost. He had truthfully reported on countless human rights abuses by the armed forces against unarmed protesters after the January 25 revolution. Nothing he wrote was not known and published on the internet before, but since Maikel Nabil had refused military service last year the army obviously wanted to get revenge. A gross violation of the principles of the Egyptian revolution that the SCAF pretends to protect and support.

On 4 October an appeal from Maikel Nabil's lawyers was to be heard in military court in Cairo. But although it was known that Nabil was in the state of dying from the hunger strike the session was adjourned by the military judge because files he needed had not been laid on his table by the administrative clerks of the court. Something neither Maikel Nabil nor his lawyers could be held accountable for. Already an unbelievable shame that such poor preparation of a vital court session was allowed to happen it was an ever bigger shame if not to say a crime to postpone the court session because of this in knowing that Maikel Nabil could die any day.

Both the British and German government have now urgently called on the Egyptian SCAF to release Maikel Nabil and allow him a fair trial in front of a civilian court, to which he is entitled.

Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt MP said:

"I have serious concerns about the treatment of Maikel Nabil Sanad, an Egyptian blogger sentenced to three years imprisonment on 10 April by an Egyptian military court. Maikel Nabil Sanad has been on hunger strike since late August and his health is now deteriorating.

"We have raised concerns about Maikel Nabil Sanad’s treatment as well as the issue of trials of civilians in military courts and the continued State of Emergency with the Egyptian authorities. We continue to urge the Egyptian authorities to repeal the emergency law.

"Freedom of expression, including freedom of the media, is fundamental to building a democratic society and we will continue to follow the human rights situation in Egypt closely."

The spokesperson on human rights for the German government, Markus Löning, said:

"The news of the live endangering condition of jailed Egyptian blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad is seriously disturbing. In the name of the Federal Government I urge the authorities to suspend the jail sentence of Maikel Nabil immediately and to let a civilian court in a fair trial review the verdict handed down on 10 April by the military tribunal.
The large number of trials against protesters and activists in military tribunals is alarming and is not in accordance with the rule of law.
The Egyptians went to the streets to fight for dignity and democracy. All authorities are called upon to respect this and to do everything in their power to promote Egypt reaching its goal of a true democracy."

Amnesty international, Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders have continuously called for the release of Maikel Nabil and have pointed out that the Egyptian SCAF carries the whole responsibility should Maikel Nabil Sanad die in prison from hunger strike. The SCAF so far has refrained from reacting to the worldwide appeals to stop this gross violation of human rights.

With the continued revenge they take on the blogger they once more prove that the principles of the Egyptian revolution, for which 850 Egyptians gave their life, obviously mean nothing to them. The US must seriously reconsider funding such human rights abuses annually with the amount of 1.3 billion Dollars  in military aid to a SCAF that clearly does not respect international humanitarian law.


1 comment:

  1. It might be naive on my part, but Egypt is moving backward in all facets: Democracy, Human Rights, etc. The interim govenment is violating the Egyptians' right to freedom of speech and also discriminating against a member of religious minority. All the powerful and influential international forces and organizations are watching on the sidelines seeming helpless in the face of such atrocity; yet they possess all the tools and weapons to apply pressure on the Egyptian military to release mr. Nabil. What happened to Economic Sanctions, ceasing Financial Aid, etc..? Is it ever going to be about Humanity rather than politics? What happened to the advanced world's promise to helping the Egyptians in their pursuit of freedom, democracy and social and religious justice?