EGYPT: Egyptian pacifist Maikel Nabil Sanad arrested for insulting the military


Update to press release from 29 March 2011 [1] and co-alert from 29 March 2011 [2]

War Resisters' International, the
international network of pacifist and antimilitarist organisations with
more than 80 affiliates in more than 40 countries, is concerned about
the arrest of Egyptian pacifist and conscientious objector Maikel Nabil
Sanad, 25, from Cairo [3]. According to information received by War
Resisters' International, Maikel Nabil Sanad was arrested in his home
in the Ain Shams neighbourhood if Cairo at about 10pm on 28 March 2011
by military police. He was only able to call his brother on the next
day, to inform him of his arrest.

His friends and family were able to organise a lawyer, Mr Haithem
Muhammaden from the El Nadeem Centre [4], who was able to attend an
investigation session with Maikel Nabil Sanad. According to him, Maikel
Nabil Sanad is presently detained for 15 days pending an investigation
on charges of "insulting the military institution and publishing
false news about it
" and "disturbing the public security".
He could be tried any day, and could be sentenced to three years in

Maikel Nabil Sanad is a political activist and blogger, and in April 2009 he founded the "No
to Compulsory Military Service Movement
" [5]. As a pacifist, he
declared his conscientious objection [6], and demanded to be exempted
from military service. He was arrested on 12 November 2010, also by
military police, but released two days later, and finally exempted from
military service on medical grounds [7].

Maikel Nabil Sanad participated actively in the Egyptian revolution, and especially
highlighted the fact that Egypt has effectively been ruled by the
military for six decades. He was arrested on 4 February by military
police and tortured, but released 27 hours later [8].

Andreas Speck, conscientious objection campaigning worker at War Resisters'
International, states: "His pacifist beliefs have brought Maikel
Nabil Sanad into confrontation with the military before. This time, it
seems they are especially after him because of a lengthy document he
wrote highlighting and criticising the role of the military during the
revolution [9]. Maikel Nabil Sanad was trying to deconstruct the myth
that the army stands and stood with the people of Egypt during the
revolution, based on information publicly available on the internet.
Instead, so he shows in his document, the army actively arrested and
tortured opposition activists, and this continues to this day. Sadly,
his own arrest only proves his point.

"In publishing on his
blog, Maikel Nabil Sanad made use of his right to freedom of opinion
and expression, as enshrined in Article 19 of the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Egypt is a party
Andreas Speck continues. "His arrest is a violation of Article 19,
and of Article 14, the right to a fair trial, as under the conditions
of his arrest he is unable to conduct a proper defence. In addition, we
fear - based on his previous experience - that he is being tortured
during the investigation.

"War Resisters'
International calls on the Egyptian authorities to immediately release
Maikel Nabil Sanad and all those other activists arrested during and
after the revolution. And we call on everyone to make their protest
heard with letters to Egyptian embassies wherever they live
", he


Andreas Speck, War Resisters' International

Tel: +44 (0)20-7278 4040


Addresses for protest letters

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 ;

A protest email can be sent at /node/12474.

Egyptian Embassy in Britain

26 South Street, London W1K 1DW

Tel.: 020 7499 3304,

Fax: 020 7491 1542,

E-Mail Address:

Notes for journalists

[1] See press release: Egypt military arrests pacifist
activist and conscientious objector Maikel Nabil Sanad

[2] See /node/12476.

[3] More information on Maikel Nabil Sanad is available at /node/11403.
His own blog - with texts in Arabic and English - is available at

[4] See

[5] In Egypt, military service is compulsory for all men. More
information on military service in Egypt is available at /programmes/world_survey/country_report/en/Egypt.

[6] See his statement "I Would Not Serve in the Egyptian Army and I
Bear the Consequences
", 20 October 2010, /node/11404

[7] See /node/11673.

[8] Maikel Nabil Sanad wrote about his experience a few days later. The
text is available at /node/12204.

[9] This document can be read (in English) at /node/12484