Reporters Without Borders is shocked to learn that Maikel Nabil Sanad, a blogger and conscientious objector, had been arrested by the military police for allegedly defaming the armed forces in his blog.
“How can one trust an institution that promises a democratic transition with civil society’s participation and then jails a pacifist blogger and conscientious objector at the first sign of any criticism?” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Jean-François Julliard asked. “This arrest raises questions about the reality of free speech in Egypt and whether the armed forces are ready to respect it.”
Sanad, 25, was arrested by military police on the night of 28 March. The next day a military court ordered him held for 15 days for investigation. He is facing a possible three-year jail sentence on charges of “insulting the military institution and publishing false news about it" and “disturbing public security.”
According to the blogosphere, he was arrested because of a blog entry in which he criticised the lack of transparency in the armed forces since President Hosni Mubarak’s departure.
Sanad has already had two spells in prison, during which he said he was tortured. Concerned about the treatment he could be receiving right now, Reporters Without Borders urges the military authorities to free him at once and to make a greater effort to respect fundamental freedoms.
Egypt went from being an “Enemy of the Internet” to a “country under surveillance” in the annual Internet report that Reporters Without Borders released on 12 March.