Maikel Nabil Sanad, still in prison, to face new trial

An Egyptian military court today overturned the verdict in the case of Maikel Nabil Sanad, the blogger earlier sentenced to three years in prison for “insulting the army.”   They ordered a retrial without setting a date for it. The court did not set him free or order his transfer to a hospital, though he has been on hunger strike for 50 days.

Maikel Nabil is a Copt, a fact which perhaps assumes additional significance in view of the weekend’s violence.

Maikel’s mother, Nagwa Nashed, was in tears when she heard the appellate court’s decision, having expected to return home with her boy. The worried mother, who lives with Maikel’s father in the Upper Egyptian city of Assiut, said she had packed her suitcase and was preparing to travel to Cairo to bring her son home.  “I’m afraid that when my son hears the verdict he will die,” she said as she attempted to keep from crying.

“I would like the officials to imagine this is their son and not mine,” she added. “When Muslims fast during Ramadan and when Christians fast, don’t they get tired and feel weak? Well Maikel’s been fasting for 50 days.”

“What has Maikel done? He said something they don’t like?” she asked between sobs and sniffles. “Why did they keep only Maikel? Is it because his name is Maikel?” she said in reference to recent Maspero clashes between Coptic protesters and army forces.

Once again: you can write to Egyptian authorities urging them to free him:

Director of Military Judiciary
Major-General Ahmed Abd Allah
Military Judicial Department
Cairo, Egypt
Fax: +(20)2 2 402 4468 / +(20)2 2 411 3452 (ask for fax)

Military Prosecutor General
Major-General Medhat Radwan
Military Judicial Department
Cairo, Egypt
+(20) 2 2 412 0980 (ask for fax)

Minister of Defence
His Excellency Muhammad Tantawi
Ministry of Defence
Cairo, Egypt
mmc@afmic.gov.eg ; mod@afmic.gov.eg
Fax: +(20) 2 2 5748 822  (+20) 22 291 6227

A sample letter is here, on a blog that also carries updates on Maikel’s health (Arabic and English).

You can also write letters of support to Maikel Nabil at:

Maikel Nabil Sanad
El-Marg prison
El-Kalag
El-Khanka
Qalyubeya
Egypt

Maikel Nabil’s appeal postponed: “a death sentence”

The appeal in the case of Maikel Nabil Sanad, the Egyptian blogger who has been on hunger strike since August 23, was postponed for a week yesterday — allegedly because the case file never reached the judge.   It’s tempting to call Egyptian justice Kafkaesque; but Kafka, after all, had a sense of humor.

With the trial postponed to 11 October, Maikel’s family and supporters now fear the young activist may not make it.  “They didn’t postpone his trial, they sentenced him to death,” [his younger brother] Mark, on the verge of tears, said. “Do they want to kill him?”

Maikel is serving a three-year term for “insulting the army,” after publishing a blog post titled “The people and the army were never one hand.”  The military keeps on proving this is true:

Upon hearing the news, the small crowd of protesters outside the courthouse began chanting slogans against the SCAF and its leaders, Field-Marshal Hussein Tantawi and Chief of Staff Sami Anan.

During the demonstration, in which activists held banners aloft calling for freedom of expression, soldiers arrested Sahar Maher, an active member of the “Free Maikel Nabil” campaign, for taking photos and video of the protest on her mobile phone. A foreign journalist, who was also taking videos, was arrested along with Maher.

Authorities also confiscated a video camera belonging to a reporter with Iran’s Press TV and forced a journalist from the US-based Christian Science Monitor to delete all her photos.

Maher is expected to stand before a military court on Tuesday on charges of photographing military installations without official permission.

Once again: you can write to Egyptian authorities urging them to free him:

Director of Military Judiciary
Major-General Ahmed Abd Allah
Military Judicial Department
Cairo, Egypt
Fax: +(20)2 2 402 4468 / +(20)2 2 411 3452 (ask for fax)

Military Prosecutor General
Major-General Medhat Radwan
Military Judicial Department
Cairo, Egypt
+(20) 2 2 412 0980 (ask for fax)

Minister of Defence
His Excellency Muhammad Tantawi
Ministry of Defence
Cairo, Egypt
mmc@afmic.gov.eg ; mod@afmic.gov.eg
Fax: +(20) 2 2 5748 822  (+20) 22 291 6227

A sample letter is here, on a blog that also carries updates on Maikel’s health (Arabic and English).

You can also write letters of support to Maikel Nabil at:

Maikel Nabil Sanad
El-Marg prison
El-Kalag
El-Khanka
Qalyubeya
Egypt