EGYPT: Conscientious objector Maikel Nabil Sanad arrested by military intelligence


War Resisters' International has been informed that Egypt conscientious objector Maikel Nabil Sanad has been arrested by military intelligence on 12 November and 10pm. They took him without even giving him the chance to change his clothes, with his bare feet.

The Military Intelligence visited his parents in Assuit (upper Egypt) earlier on the same day, and told his father that Maikel should go to them and sign a paper to say that he will join the Army in April 2011, his father said that he was no longer live there, and then they left. A few hours later they went to his home in Ain Shames in Cairo and arrested him.

Maikel Nabil Sanad finished his college education earlier this year, and was supposed to begin his military service on 22 October 2010. He decided not to comply with this order, and issued a statement instead:

"I thought too much and my decision was that I would refuse to do the military service in Egypt and I would bear the consequences whatever they would be. Despite of my knowledge that the consequences would be a misfortune as I am considered the first Egyptian youth to reject the compulsory military service because of my pacifist beliefs."


"But, my words don’t mean that I am an evader of the military recruitment. I am rejecting, not evading. I live in the same address written on my identification card which is known to the Administration of Recruitment and Mobilization, the Military Security Forces and the Intelligence, which also is written in my letters to Minister of Defense, the Prime Minister, Heads of both Houses of Parliament and the President of the Republic. I am not hiding anywhere so the Egyptian police can arrest me anywhere and I am fully prepared to deliver myself to justice once I am being informed that I am wanted."

Egypt, a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) does not recognise the right to conscientious objection.

There is no experience in Egypt regarding treatment of conscientious objectors to military service. It is not clear with what he might now be charged, or where he is being held. He could be punished with a prolongation of military service - which could lead to a vicious cycle of refusal and sentencing. However, it is also possible that charges for disobeying orders would be brought, based on the experience from other countries.

In addition, War Resisters' International fears that Maikel Nabil Sanad might be mistreated and tortured while in the hands of the military intelligence.

War Resisters' International calls for letters of protest in support of Maikel Nabil Sanad to the Minister of Defence of Egypt, Mohamed Hussein Tantawi. A support email can be sent at .

War Resisters' International calls for the immediate release of Maikel Nabil Sanad and all other imprisoned conscientious objectors.

Andreas Speck
War Resisters' International