Reporters Without Borders

Jailed blogger's retrial adjourned again as military plays for time

Jailed blogger’s retrial adjourned again as military plays for time

Published on Wednesday 19 October 2011. Updated on Wednesday 7 December 2011.
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The verdict was supposed to be issued on Dcember 7, but was once agin postponed to December 14 : read the press release published by Reporters Without Borders.


Jailed blogger’s retrial adjourned again as military plays for time
2011.10.19

Reporters Without Borders deplores the latest adjournment yesterday of jailed blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad’s retrial by court martial on a charge of insulting the armed forces in his blog. After Sanad’s original conviction was overturned on appeal, the retrial was initially scheduled to have begun on 13 October.

“We condemn this persistence in persecuting Sanad and call for his immediate release,” Reporters Without Borders said. “This military court should dismiss the charges against him. The repeated postponement of the hearings and the refusal to release him on bail are being used to prolong his detention. The original trial was unfair and violated the principles of justice. After its verdict was rightly quashed, the retrial must not be used to repeat the first trial.”

Reporters Without Borders is very concerned about Sanad’s state of health. He has been detained for nearly seven months and has been on hunger strike for 57 days. His relatives say they are alarmed about the deterioration in his physical condition and fear he could die. The authorities are still refusing to hospitalize him.

Sanad told his brother Mark on 17 October that he intended to boycott the retrial. Neither he, nor his family nor his lawyer went to the military court yesterday for the scheduled start of the new trial. According to his brother, Sanad does not want to participate in “this soap opera that the military has cooked up.”

A campaign in support of Sanad as well as campaigns in support of jailed bloggers and conscientious objectors in other countries is available on this website.


Authorities urged to free blogger at military court appeal
3 October 2011

Reporters Without Borders reiterates its call for the release of the blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad, whose appeal against his jail sentence is to be heard by a military court on 4 October. Arrested on 28 March for criticizing the armed forces, Sanad was sentenced to three years in prison by a military court on 10 April. He has been on hunger strike for more than 40 days.

“The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces must free Sanad,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The health of this netizen, Egypt’s first prisoner of conscience since Hosni Mubarak’s overthrow, is getting worse.

“This appeal is the last chance for the authorities to show a commitment to human rights, justice and democracy. The court must recognize that he was unfairly convicted by a court martial because of his views and his articles.”

Sanad’s health is deteriorating steadily as a result of the hunger strike. He is now suffering from serious renal problems, anemia and scabies. He has requested a medical examination in vain.

Reporters Without Borders wrote to the attorney-general in Cairo on 26 September requesting permission to visit Sanad in prison. No reply has so far been received.


Jailed blogger’s brother harassed for supporting him
September 22nd, 2011

Reporters Without Borders condemns attempts to intimidate detained blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad’s brother, Mark Sanad, who says he has been threatened with imprisonment because of his public support for Maikel.

The press freedom organization reiterates its call for the detained netizen’s immediate release and urges the authorities to renounce the use of intimidatory methods worthy of the Mubarak era.

After visiting his brother in prison on 20 September, Mark Sanad said: “I was threatened with being detained if I do not keep quiet and stop defending my brother. I will not stop. Let them detain me. I have no problem with that.” The authorities also allegedly hid drugs in his bag with the apparent aim of charging him with drug trafficking.

Mark Sanad said that his brother’s health is worsening, that he has already lost more than 12 kilos in weight after going on hunger strike, and that he is refusing to go to the prison infirmary. Mark added that he feared his brother will not hold out until his appeal, which is due to be heard on 4 October.

A peaceful march was staged on 19 September to demand Maikel Nabil Sanad’s release and an end to trials of civilians before military courts. The march started at Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

The blogger’s father, Nabil Sanad, has received no reply to the seven letters he has so far sent to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to request his son’s release. He says he will take the Egyptian authorities before the International Court of Justice if his son dies in detention. Reporters Without Borders would encourage such an initiative.


Jailed blogger resumes hunger strike, in critical condition again
17 September 2011

While the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces threatens to use the state of emergency law against all journalists who “endanger social peace,” the blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad¸ Egypt’s first prison of conscience since the revolution, is still in prison, has reportedly resumed his hunger strike and is in a critical physical condition again.

“We urge the Supreme Council to release Sanad and all the other prisoners of conscience at once,” Reporters Without Borders said. “A security policy involving the jailing of journalists and bloggers convicted by military courts is steadily undermining hopes of a democratic transition in Egypt.”

According to the information obtained by Reporters Without Borders, Sanad has resumed his hunger strike and is again refusing to drink. In messages to his brother on 13 and 14 September, he reportedly said he was “unable to leave bed now” and suffered “loss of vision” as soon as he stood up.

Sanad has also denied telling the prison authorities that he wanted no more visits. “Do not believe so much the army officers or the military judges, because they lie too much,” he wrote. “I am not refusing visits and I strongly need them.” His brother and presidential candidate Bothaina Kamel are among the people who have repeatedly tried to visit him in Cairo’s Al-Marg prison. “I wanted to see [you], but the prison administration were the ones to refuse.”

Arrested on 28 March for denouncing human rights violations and the military’s close relationship with the government in his blog (http://www.maikelnabil.com), Sanad was sentenced to three years in prison by a military court on 10 April. He began a hunger strike on 23 August and stopped drinking a week later. He was rushed to the prison infirmary on 3 September.

After being hospitalized, Sanad let it be known that he was determined to resume his hunger strike and stop drinking against regardless of the outcome.

Reporters Without Borders urges the Supreme Council to free Sanad without delay, so that it is not held responsible for the blogger’s death in detention.

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