Monday, January 16, 2012

Free Maikel Nabil Sanad, the voice of moderate Egypt

Maikel Nabil Sanad, now imprisoned and in failing health
One of the leading Egyptian pro-democracy, revolutionary voices has been silenced by that country's military and its woefully undemocratic legal system.

In an exclusive guest voice on The CJN's website, Liberal MP, lawyer and noted human rights advocate Irwin Cotler, asks the world not to forget the case of Maikel Nabil Sanad, the 26-year-old blogger who has been sentenced to three years in prison for speaking his mind.

A Coptic Christian – so he's already member of a persecuted minority in Egypt – Sanad came to prominence in the early days of the "Arab Spring" last year, when he advocated on his blog for the end to mandatory enlisting in Egypt's military.

His blog was critical of the army's handling of the Egyptian revolution last year, which called for then-President Hosni Mubarak to step down and make way for a democratic, elected government. That process has since turned into a multi-step election that has been co-opted by Islamist candidates and parties. It's hardly the democractic outcome many of the Egyptian students and social networkers who organized the Tahrir Square demonstrations had hoped for.

Here's an excerpt from Cotler's piece now online:

While the world celebrated the ushering in of 2012, 26 year-old Egyptian blogger Maikel Nabil – one of the first political prisoners of the post-Hosni Mubarak era – continued to languish in an Egyptian military hospital for exercising his fundamental rights to freedom of expression and association under both Egyptian law and international law.
And in another excerpt:

On Jan. 1 – again under the radar screen of the New Year – Nabil was moved from El-Marg military prison, where he was reportedly tortured, to the Tora Prison Hospital, where his life continues to hang by a thread. Although he reluctantly ended his four-month hunger strike in response to the pleas of his family and friends – and indeed I myself wrote him emphasizing the importance of his staying alive so that his voice could continue to be heard – his health nonetheless remains threatened by prison authorities who stopped administering his necessary medications in his weakened condition.
Irwin Cotler
This is an important story. Read the full comment from Cotler here.

And while you're at it, take a moment to look through Sanad's blog and particularly to his video addressing the Israeli people. It's a rare look into the real moderate views of many in the young, liberal Egyptian generation, whose future is being sold down the river by the ruling military regime and the threat of an Islamist autocratic government coming to power.

Also, here's an equally important story highlighting Sanad's plight by David Keyes, executive director of Advancing Human Rights and a co-founder of Keyes discusses the dire need for the world to react to Sanad's imprisonment and of Cotler's "tireless" efforts to keep Sanad alive.

What are your thoughts?

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