EGYPT: Trial against Maikel Nabil Sanad again postponed / more than 107 days on hunger strike

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Maikel Nabil SanadMaikel Nabil SanadIn the case of imprisoned pacifist blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad, the military court on 7 December again postponed the trial against Maikel Nabil Sanad, this time to 14 December, for no apparent reason. On 27 November the court adjourned the trial to 4 December, to hear a new prosecution witness. Then, the trial was adjourned until 7 December, only to be adjourned yet another time. Meanwhile, Maikel Nabil Sanad passed day 107 of his hunger strike, surviving only on fruit juice and milk.

Maikel Nabil Sanad was arrested at the end of march on charges of violating article 184 of the Egyptian penal code, which criminalizes "insulting the People’s Assembly, the Shura Council or any State Authority, or the Army or the Courts", and article 102, "spreading false information". In a trial in front of a military court violating all established legal standards, he was sentenced to three years' imprisonment on 10 April 2011, in absence of his family, friends, or lawyers. Since then he has been kept in El Marg prison.

On 23 August, Maikel Nabil Sanad began a hunger strike in protest against his imprisonment. In a statement at the beginning of his hunger strike, he declared that his hunger strike is in protest against the severe injustice he is subjected to, namely his unfair trial in front of a military court, the slow processing of his appeal, and the difference of treatment in the cases of Asmaa Mahfouz and Louie Nagati (who had their charges dropped on 18 August 2011) and in his case.

As a result of growing pressure, the appeal hearing was finally brought forward to 4 October, but then again adjourned, because a file was missing. On 11 October, the military appeal court declared the original sentence of 10 April 2011 "null and void", but failed to release Maikel Nabil Sanad.

Maikel Nabil Sanad refuses to co-operate with the re-trial, and also asked his lawyers to stop any co-operation with the military court. On 18 October, a military court again heard the case of Maikel Nabil Sanad, and appointed a lawyer to represent him, who - according to one of Maikel Nabil Sanad's lawyers - was unacquainted with the case. The court ordered to transfer Maikel Nabil Sanad to a psychiatric hospital "for examination" (see co-alert, 20 October 2011), but the hospital refused this attempt at pathologisation of political dissent, and sent him back after a few days, declaring him "sane".

The case has now been adjourned to 14 December, and Maikel Nabil Sanad remains imprisoned and on hunger strike.

War Resisters' International calls for urgent letters of support to Maikel Nabil Sanad:
Maikel Nabil Sanad
El-Marg prison
El-Kalag
El-Khanka
Qalyubeya
Egypt
Letters to Maikel can also be sent via http://wri-irg.org/campagins/supportmaikelnabil

War Resisters' International calls for urgent letters of protest to the Egyptian authorities.

Director of Military Judiciary
Major-General Ahmed Abd Allah
Military Judicial Department
Cairo, Egypt
Fax: +202 2 402 4468 / +202 2 411 3452 (ask for fax)

Military General Attorney
Major-General Medhat Radwan
Military Judicial Department
Cairo, Egypt
+202 2 412 0980 (ask for fax)

Minister of Defence
His Excellency Muhammad Tantawi
Ministry of Defence
Cairo, Egypt
mmc@afmic.gov.eg ; mod@afmic.gov.eg
Fax: +20 2 2 5748 822
A protest email can be sent at http://wri-irg.org/node/14274.

War Resisters' International calls on the Egyptian authorities to respond to Maikel Nabil Sanad's hunger strike and to immediately release him.

Andreas Speck
War Resisters' International