The Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International welcomes the release of blogger and activist Maikal Nabil Sanad, on 24 January 2012, days after an amnesty was announced by the authorities. PEN International continues to call for Sanad’s conviction to be quashed, and urges the immediate and unconditional release of all those who remain detained for solely exercising their right to free expression in accordance with Article 19 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, to which Egypt is a signatory.
On 21 January 2012, ahead of the first anniversary of the Egyptian ‘Jasmine’ revolution, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) announced the release of around 2,000 political detainees who had been convicted by military courts in the last year. Maikal Nabil Sanad is one of them.
Maikal Nabil Sanad, aged 26, was arrested on 28 March 2011 and was handed down a three-year sentence by a military tribunal on charges of “insulting the military institution, disseminating false news and disturbing public security” for comments made on his blog in which he accused the new government of anti-democratic practices and of continuing the corruption of former president, Hosni Mubarak. During the trial, Sanad refused to recognise the legitimacy of a military court, and his retrial was twice postponed. On 15 December 2011, another military court heard his case and Sanad’s sentence was reduced to two years in prison.
While in prison, Maikal Nabil Sanad came close to death as a result of a hunger strike. He was held in solitary confinement for much of his detention, and was sent for assessment at a psychiatric hospital.
For the previous PEN International RAN alert on the case see here.
Please send appeals:
Welcoming the release of blogger and activist Maikel Nabil Sanad; and calling for all the charges against Maikel Nabil Sanad to be dropped;
Urging the immediate and unconditional release of all those who remain detained for solely exercising their right to free expression;
Reminding the Egyptian authorities of their obligations to protect freedom of expression as laid out by Article 19 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, to which Egypt is a signatory.
Appeals to be sent to:
Director of Military Judiciary
Major-General Ahmed Abd Allah
Military Judicial Department
Fax: +202 2 402 4468 / +202 2 411 3452 (ask for fax)
Military General Attorney
Major-General Medhat Radwan
Military Judicial Department
Fax: +202 2 412 0980 (ask for fax)
Minister of Defence
His Excellency Muhammad Tantawi
Ministry of Defence
If possible please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Egypt in your country.
***Please contact this office if sending appeals after 31 March 2012***
For further information, please contact Cathy McCann at International PEN WiPC, 50/51 Brownlow House, High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (0) 20740580338. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org