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Egypt: Blogger Maikel Nabil Military Trial Postponed

This post is part of our special coverage Egypt Revolution 2011.

Egyptian blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad, who has so far spent 216 days in prison and 71 days on hunger strike, today refused to stand trial in a military court. Sanad was arrested days after Hosni Mubarak stepped down as the president of Egypt, and was sentenced in April to three years in prison for posts he published on his blog.

The charges against him are insulting the armed forces, publishing false information on his blog and disturbing public security. Last month, the Supreme Military Court of Appeals annulled the conviction but continued to hold Sanad, who had started a hunger strike, transferring him to a mental health facility.

Back in prison, Sanad today continues with his hunger strike and his defiance to accept being subjected to the trial of a military court, a stance similar to that of blogger Alaa Abd El Fattah, who was detained for 15 days by a military court on Sunday (October 30) for refusing to be interrogated by the Military Prosecutor, in protest against its legitimacy.

A stenciled image of Sanad calling for his freedom. Photo by Hossam Elhamalawy

A stenciled image of Sanad calling for his freedom. Photo by Hossam Elhamalawy

Sanad's trial was today postponed to November 13, creating an uproar on social networking sites. A group of supporters who waited outside court chanted against military trials.

On Twitter, journalist Adam Makary announces:

@adamakary: #BREAKING: #MaikelNabil trial postponed to November 13. Four witnesses called to the stand #egypt

The Big Pharaoh explains:

@TheBigPharaoh: Lawyers advised #mikaelnabil to apologise for his anti-SCAF blog post. He refused and also refused to accept military court legitimacy.

And Mona Seif, who has been campaigning against the military trial of civilians since January and who is Abd El Fattah's sister, notes [ar]:

مايكل نبيل في جلسة النهاردة،أصر على موقفه و طلب من محاميه الا يترافعوا،و منع المحامي المنتدب من المحكمة من التحدث باسمه. منتظرين حكم المحكمة

@Monasosh: Maikel Nabil, in today's trial, insisted on his stance and asked his lawyer not to take the stand. He also prohibited the court appointed lawyer to speak on his behalf. We are awaiting the court's decision.

The Free Maikel Twitter account released the following statement, reportedly written by Sanad and smuggled out of prison, last night:

@freeMaikel: Urgent statement from #MaikelNabil: I’m Still Boycotting the Military Judicature and I Bear the Consequences

A full statement is available on the Free Maikel Nabil Sanad Facebook page here. In the statement, he writes:

History repeats itself, the same way I objected the compulsory military service last year, this year I boycott litigation before the military officers.

Mr. officers… I say Mr. Officers and not Mr. judge, because the judge before anything has to have the characteristic of independence, whereas military officers are a branch of the executive authority. That’s why, you are an officer, not a judge no matter what names, titles or descriptions you were called.

Sanad continues:

I am a civilian person, I refuse to be tried before a military judicature or any other exceptional judicature, even any judicature lacking independence. I refuse to be tried for my beliefs or my opinions, or that settling of accounts be done with me for the same of fascist Intelligence agencies, which don’t respect rights.

Sanad is one of 12,000 Egyptian civilians subjected to military trials since the ousting of Mubarak after the January 25 revolution.

Supporters the Maikel Nabil military trial

Supporters the Maikel Nabil military trial. Photo from Twitter by Adam Makary

After hearing about the postponement of the case, Columnist Mona Eltahawy tweets:

@monaeltahawy: #SCAF is waiting for #MaikelNabil to die. There is no other conclusion. And after 70days hunger strike& case postponed again, he will soon.

Sandra Yacoub adds:

@SandraYacoub: very few ppl thoughout hisotry lasted more than 70 days without food. They are killing #maikelnabil #freemaikel

And Mohannad concludes [ar]:

ابطالنا في في المحاكم العسكرية مايكل نبيل وعلاء عبد الفتاح ‎#FreeMaikel‏ ‎#FreeAlaa
@mand0z: Our heroes are in military courts – Maikel Nabil and Alaa Abd El Fattah

This post is part of our special coverage Egypt Revolution 2011.

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