Jailed Egyptian Blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad Resumes Hunger Strike

by Joe Edgar    /  September 14, 2011  / 1 Comment

Egyptian pacifist and writer Maikel Nabil Sanad, who had slipped into a coma last Tuesday, has recently emerged and begun his hunger and thirst strike anew. Sanad, 26 years old, began the strike on August 23rd in order to protest unjust treatment at the hands of the military. He stopped drinking water on the 31st of August.

Sanad at a protest in Cairo. Photo: Mina Nader

According to The Pulitzer Center, Sanad was arrested on March 28—the 3rd time in four months—for standing up to regime and refusing to serve in the military. A tribunal sentenced him to three years, and charged him with “insulting the military establishment” and “spreading false information.” In a particularly inflammatory blog post published after his second arrest, Sanad decried the military, writing, “The revolution has so far managed to get rid of the dictator but not of the dictatorship.”

His lawyers were not present on April 10th, the day Sanad was convicted. They were told that the court session was canceled. Upon returning to the court on April 11th, they found that he had been sentenced. Human Rights Watch has called the case surrounding Sanad, “…A serious setback to freedom of expression in post-Mubarak Egypt.”

The Pulitzer Center
also said that Sanad’s lawyers have attempted to have the court hear his appeal, but have largely been rebuffed. Sanad was placed in solitary confinement when he began his hunger and thirst strike in El Marg prison. His family and lawyers have not had contact with him.

Sanad has been outspoken about corruption in the Egyptian army and its poor treatment of protesters during the revolution.

In this interview filmed before his most recent incarceration, Sanad sites incidents of unjust arrests, intimidation, and sexual abuse perpetrated by the Egyptian military during and after the revolution. He said, “The military need to get back to their barracks and leave politics to civilians and democracy.”

Sanad’s father, Ibrahim, who was interviewed at a demonstration to free Maikel outside of the Ministry of Defense said that, “His country is meant to prize him, not imprison him.”

You can offer your support by sending a postcard to Maikel and his family at the War Resister’s International campaign to free him. There is also a form letter addressed to the Egyptian Minister of Defense Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, asking for Sanad’s release.

About the Author

Pittsburgh native Joseph Edgar is a recent graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, earning a degree in Creative Nonfiction Writing and African Studies. In 2010, Joseph apprenticed with photojournalist Fatoumata Diabate' in Bamako, Mali. He is a two-time recipient of the Women's Association of the University of Pittsburgh undergrad scholarship. Joseph has volunteered with Keep It Real, a student run organization that works with the Somali Bantu population in Pittsburgh. He has also acted with Kuntu Repertory Theater.

View all articles by Joe Edgar

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