Freedom for Egypt’s prisoners of conscience

Prologue: I have just signed a petition demanding the release of Maikel Nabil Sanad, Alaa Abd El Fattah and all other prisoners of conscience in Egypt imprisoned for their opinions and for daring to criticise the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the de-facto rulers of post-revolutionary Egypt. You can do the same here (English text below Swedish text).

In a message from El-Marg general prison in Egypt, the imprisoned blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad wrote:

“Militarists told me that my case differs from the case of Alaa Abd El Fattah, because Alaa isn’t tried as being a political activist… I look in their eyes and ask them, …“Is it a confession that I am being tried as being a political activist?”.”

Maikel is just one of many prisoners of conscience in post-revolutionary Egypt. Alaa Abd El Fattah is another. In just 10 months, over 12 000 civilians have been tried and many sentenced in military tribunals. without the right to choose their own lawyer, nor the right of appeal other than to another military tribunal. The defendants often have only a few days to prepare their case, and it is not uncommon that several cases are tried at the same time. Once arrested, the civilians are often subjected to beatings and torture, in some cases leading to death, in the brutal Egyptian prisons.

Maikel was sentenced to 3 years prison by a military tribunal in Egypt for “insulting the Egyptian army”. Why? For daring to question the intentions of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which now are the de-facto rulers of Egypt. He wrote that “the military and the people have never been one hand” meaning that in fact the military was never with the revolution but against it.

Now, 10 months later, his words ring truer than ever. The military regime’s grave violations of human rights, continuous use of excessive violence against demonstrators and their infringements on the freedom of speech and the press, the right of assembly and strikes imply that Maikel was right.

Maikel, like Alaa Abdel Fattah, refuses to be tried by a military tribunal and has said he is “ready to die” for it. If he isn’t released soon he surely will. He has been on hunger strike for over 100 days and has lost over 20% of his body weight. Maikel has vowed to continue until released.

I personally do not accept another death at the hands of the military. No more martyrs, no more blood, set Maikel free.

Freedom for Maikel Nabil Sanad
Free Alaa Abd El Fattah
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