Imprisonment of pacifist blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad / on hunger strike since 23 August
Use this form to send the letter below to the relevant authority (Minister of Defense Mohamed Hussein Tantawi). You can add your own notes in a separate box after the standard text, if you wish. You must include a name, address, and email address; a copy will be sent to you with a cc to the WRI office (so we have a record of how many email letters have been sent out for this particular case).
I have learned that pacifist and conscientious objector Maikel Nabil Sanad, who has been on a hunger strike since 23 August - now for more than 85 days - is not being released, although the appeal court on 11 October annulled the sentence of three years' imprisonment passed down by the military court on 10 April 2011. On 18 October, the military court ordered to send Maikel Nabil Sanad to a psychiatric hospital for examination - an attempt at pathologising political dissent, which the hospital refused to perform. On 1 November, the case was again adjourned to 13 November, to hear witnesses, and then again to 27 November, only to be postponed against to 4 December. All the time, Maikel Nabil Sanad, who has now not been convicted of any crime, remains in prison, and remains on hunger strike.
Egypt is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which guarantees the right to a fair trial in article 14, and freedom of opinion and expression in article 19. The newly approved interim constitution of Egypt also guarantees the right to freedom of expression, and the freedom of the press.
In his writings, Maikel Nabil Sanad made use of his right to freedom of opinion and expression. This includes his right to criticise the role of the military during and after the revolution.
The sentencing of Maikel Nabil Sanad to three years in prison is a violation of his human rights - especially his right to freedom of opinion and expression and his right to a fair trial. In addition, Maikel Nabil Sanad was tried in a military court, although he is a civilian. This again is against Egyptian and international law and legal standards.
On 21 July, the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations passed a new General Comment 34 on the right to freedom of opinion and expression. It writes: "States parties should not prohibit criticism of institutions, such as the army or the administration." (see http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrc/docs/GC34.pdf). The sentencing and imprisonment is in clear violation of the interpretation of article 19 ICCPR, as shown in General Comment 34.
Maikel Nabil Sanad began his hunger strike in protest against his apparent injustice. I am concerned about Maikel Nabil Sanad's life, and there urge you to restore justice by releasing Maikel Nabil Sanad. I urge you to respond quickly to his demands. I appeal to your conscience.
I urge you to respect human rights.