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EGYPT: Blogger Michael Nabil Sanad sentenced to three years in prison

Thursday 21 April 2011 - 1:00am

RAN 18/11 21 April 2011

The Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International protests the three-year sentence handed down to Internet writer Michael Nabil Sanad, on 9 April 2011. Sanad was convicted for criticising former president Hosni Mubarak. PEN International considers Sanad’s detention to be in violation of Article 19 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, to which Egypt is a signatory, and calls for his immediate and unconditional release.

According to PEN’s information, Michael Nabil Sanad better known by the pseudonym of Son of Ra was sentenced to three years in prison on 9 April 2011 by a military tribunal on charges of "insulting the military institution, dissemination of false news and disturbing public security". He was convicted for comments on his blogs in which he accuses the new government of continuing the corruption and anti-democratic practices of the former president, Hosni Mubarak. He was arrested on 28 March 2011 then transferred to a Military Court which held its first hearing on 30 March, when the charge of disturbing public security was dropped. Another hearing was held on 4 April and the case was subsequently adjourned to 6 April. Sanad was previously arrested on 8 February, before former president Hosni Mubarak stepped down. The blogger was detained while participating in the anti-Mubarak protests for holding a banner which read "Civil, not military or religious." He is being held at Tora prison.

For further background information please see:

- International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX): The global network for free expression:

- The New York Times:

Please send appeals:
• Protesting the three-year sentence given to Michael Nabil Sanad solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression;
• Calling for the charges to be dismissed at once and for his immediate and unconditional release;
• Seeking assurances that Michael Nabil Sanad is being treated humanely in detention;
• 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
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 ;

If possible please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Egypt in your country.
***Please contact this office if sending appeals after 20 May 2011***

For further information, please contact Ghias Aljundi at International PEN WiPC, 50/51 Brownlow House, High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (0) 20740580338. Email: