Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Freedom House Calls For Release of Egyptian Blogger

On the eve of his appeal hearing, Freedom House condemns the unjust imprisonment of Egyptian blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad and calls for his immediate release.

Mr. Sanad was sentenced to three years in prison as a result of his criticism of the military’s brutal treatment of protestors. During his trial, he was accused of spreading false information and insulting the military. He was convicted in a summary procedure without the presence of a lawyer or the ability to contact his family. Makail Nabil began a hunger strike in August to protest his imprisonment and intends to continue this strike until he dies or is released.

“Mikael’s trial and hasty imprisonment by a military tribunal on charges of insulting the armed forces is a violation of his right to due process as well as a betrayal of the principles of democracy the Egyptian military claims it wants to uphold,” said Charles Dunne, Freedom House’s senior program manager for MENA. “The appeal hearing on October 4 is a clear opportunity for Egypt’s ruling military council to set right a gross injustice.”

Egyptians have been the victims of an increasing crackdown on public debate, including the reinstatement of the Ministry of Information, a ministry that does not exist in most democracies and is viewed as restrictive by many activists. At least 12,000 civilians have been tried in military courts since February 2011, according to Human Rights Watch. Bloggers, journalists and those critical of the military have been arrested and restrictions have been placed on publication or broadcast of information or opinion about the military. In August 2011, activist and blogger Asmaa Mahfouz was arrested and charged with inciting violence against the military for her social networking posts.

Egypt is ranked Not Free in Freedom in the World 2011, Freedom House's survey of political rights and civil liberties, and Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2011.


Post a Comment