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Mar-31-2011 19:02printcomments

Egyptian Pacifist Maikel Nabil Sanad Charged with Insulting the Military: Trial Adjourned to Sunday

Egyptian pacifist Maikel Nabil Sanad in Cairo is charged with "insulting the military by publishing false news about it" and "obstructing public security". Sanad denied the charges.

Egyptian Pacifist Maikel Nabil Sanad
Egyptian Pacifist Maikel Nabil Sanad

(LONDON WRI) - War Resisters' International, the international network of pacifist and antimilitarist organisations with more than 80 affiliates in more than 40 countries, is concerned about the arrest of Egyptian pacifist and conscientious objector Maikel Nabil Sanad, 25, from Cairo [3]. According to information received by War Resisters' International, Maikel Nabil Sanad was arrested in his home in the Ain Shams neighbourhood of Cairo at about 10pm on the 28th of March by military police. He was only able to call his brother on the next day, to inform him of his arrest.

His friends and family were able to organise a lawyer, Mr Haithem Muhammaden from the El Nadeem Centre [4], who was able to attend an investigation session with Maikel Nabil Sanad. According to him, Maikel Nabil Sanad is presently detained for 15 days pending an investigation on charges of "insulting the military institution by publishing false news about it" and "disturbing the public security". During the trial today, Maikel Nabil Sanad was defended by the well-known human rights lawyer Mr Naged El-Baree, among others.

Maikel Nabil Sanad is a political activist and blogger, and in April 2009 he founded the "No to Compulsory Military Service Movement" [5]. As a pacifist, he declared his conscientious objection [6], and demanded to be exempted from military service. He was arrested on 12 November 2010, also by military police, but released two days later, and finally exempted from military service on medical grounds [7].

Maikel Nabil Sanad participated actively in the Egyptian revolution, and especially highlighted the fact that Egypt has effectively been ruled by the military for six decades. He was arrested on 4 February by military police and tortured, but released 27 hours later [8].

Andreas Speck, conscientious objection campaigning worker at War Resisters' International, states: "His pacifist beliefs have brought Maikel Nabil Sanad into confrontation with the military before. This time, it seems they are especially after him because of a lengthy document he wrote highlighting and criticising the role of the military during the revolution [9]. Maikel Nabil Sanad was trying to deconstruct the myth that the army stands and stood with the people of Egypt during the revolution, based on information publicly available on the internet. Instead, so he shows in his document, the army actively arrested and tortured opposition activists, and this continues to this day. Sadly, his own arrest only proves his point."

"In publishing on his blog, Maikel Nabil Sanad made use of his right to freedom of opinion and expression, as enshrined in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Egypt is a party", Andreas Speck continues. "His arrest is a violation of Article 19, and of Article 14, the right to a fair trial, as under the conditions of his arrest he is unable to conduct a proper defence. In addition, we fear - based on his previous experience - that he is being tortured during the investigation."

"To try a civilian in a military court is against all international human rights standard. A military court does not have jurisdiction over civilians, and if the authorities want to put Maikel Nabil Sanad on trial - for which there is no reason whatsoever - they should do so in front of a civilian criminal court."

"War Resisters' International calls on the Egyptian authorities to immediately release Maikel Nabil Sanad and all those other activists arrested during and after the revolution. And we call on everyone to make their protest heard with letters to Egyptian embassies wherever they live", he adds.

Addresses for protest letters

Director of Military Judiciary
Major-General Ahmed Abd Allah
Military Judicial Department
Cairo, Egypt
Fax: +202 2 402 4468 / +202 2 411 3452 (ask for fax)

Military General Attorney
Major-General Medhat Radwan
Military Judicial Department
Cairo, Egypt
+202 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
A protest email can be sent at http://wri-irg.org/node/12474.

Egyptian Embassy in Britain
26 South Street, London W1K 1DW
Tel.: 020 7499 3304,
Fax: 020 7491 1542,
E-Mail Address: eg.emb_london@mfa.gov.eg

Source: War Resistors International




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