Maikel Nabil, a 25-year-old Egyptian blogger, has been sentenced to 3 years in prison after criticizing the military for supporting “the corruption and anti-democratic practices” of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Nabil, who describes himself on Twitter as an “Egyptian Blogger, Activist believes in Liberalism, Secularism, Pacifism, Peace & Realism,” was sentenced by a military tribunal for insulting the military, disturbing public security, and spreading false information about the armed forces in a single blog entry.
The New York Times reports,
The tribunal charged him with spreading information previously published by human rights organizations like Amnesty International on the army’s use of violence against protesters, the torture of those detained inside the Egyptian Museum and the use of forced pelvic exams, known as “virginity tests,” against detained female protesters.
The main evidence against Mr. Nabil, who blogged under the name “Son of Ra,” was a CD containing 73 screen shots of entries on his blog and his personal Facebook page, according to Heba Morayef, a researcher in Egypt for Human Rights Watch, which is based in New York.
You can read Nabil’s offending post, “The army and the people wasn’t ever one hand,” here. A rights advocate that the Times spoke to said that Nabil, who is Christian, had refused to fulfill his obligatory military service in 2010 and is also pro-Israel, facts that may have singled him out as an “easy target.”
This is the first trial of a blogger by Egypt’s military rulers following Mubarak’s departure. Nabil’s lawyers and family have been barred from communicating with him, and human rights organizations are calling for his release. Another well-known blogger, Wael Abbas, tweeted that “Egypt will never be safe for bloggers,” and the Washington Post writes that “the tribunal’s decision to punish Nabil for his writings seemed likely to fan tensions between the pro-democracy movement and the military leadership.”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 11, 2011