No to the pathologisation of imprisoned blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad. Release imprisoned blogger immediately
I have learned that pacifist and conscientious objector Maikel Nabil Sanad, who has been on a hunger strike since 23 August - now for more than 60 days - is not being released, although the appeal court annulled the sentence of three years' imprisonment passed down by the military court on 10 April 2011. Instead, the military court gave order on 18 October to transfer Maikel Nabil Sanad to a psychiatric hospital for examination.
I protest strongly against this attempt to pathologise criticism of the military and of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
Egypt is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which guarantees the right to a fair trial in article 14, and freedom of opinion and expression in article 19. The newly approved interim constitution of Egypt also guarantees the right to freedom of expression, and the freedom of the press.
In his writings, Maikel Nabil Sanad made use of his right to freedom of opinion and expression. This includes his right to criticise the role of the military during and after the revolution.
The sentencing of Maikel Nabil Sanad to three years in prison is a violation of his human rights - especially his right to freedom of opinion and expression and his right to a fair trial. In addition, Maikel Nabil Sanad was tried in a military court, although he is a civilian. This again is against Egyptian and international law and legal standards.
On 21 July, the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations passed a new General Comment 34 on the right to freedom of opinion and expression. It writes: "States parties should not prohibit criticism of institutions, such as the army or the administration." (see http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrc/docs/GC34.pdf). The sentencing and imprisonment is in clear violation of the interpretation of article 19 ICCPR, as shown in General Comment 34.
Maikel Nabil Sanad began his hunger strike in protest against his apparent injustice. I am concerned about Maikel Nabil Sanad's life, and therefore urge you to restore justice by releasing Maikel Nabil Sanad. I urge you to respond quickly to his demands. I appeal to your conscience.
I urge you to respect human rights.