Egypt: Imprisoned pacifist blogger and conscientious objector Maikel Nabil Sanad on hunger and thirst strike

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Since 23 August, imprisoned pacifist blogger and conscientious objector Maikel Nabil Sanad is on hunger strike in protest against his continued imprisonment. On 30 August, he escalated his hunger strike to include a thirst strike.

According to information received from supporters in Egypt, he was moved to the prison hospital in the night of 31 August, after he lost consciousness in his prison cell. There, he was treated with glucose. On 4 September, he was moved back to a prison cell, where he is continuing with his hunger and thirst strike. According to reports from his supporters, his health is bad.

Maikel Nabil Sanad suffers from a heart and blood pressure condition, and needs to take medicine daily. In addition to refusing food and water, he refuses to take his medicine.

Maikel Nabil Sanad was sentenced to three years' imprisonment for "insulting the military" on 10 April 2011 (see co-alert, 11 April 2011).

In a statement on his hunger strike, he declared that his hunger strike is in protest against the severe injustice he is subjected to, namely his unfair trial in front of a military court, the slow processing of his appeal, and the difference of treatment in the cases of Asmaa Mahfouz and Louie Nagati (who had their charges dropped on 18 August 2011) and in his case.

He demanded that the injustice his is suffering is being investigated by the prosecutor, and also requested to be transferred to the prison hospital. He ends his statement: "I will no longer accept injustice, and if my death is the price I have to pay to put an end to this injustice by the military, I am prepared to pay it."

Maikel Nabil Sanad's sentence is based on article 184 of the Egyptian penal code, which criminalizes "insulting the People’s Assembly, the Shura Council or any State Authority, or the Army or the Courts", and article 102, "spreading false information".

On 2 September, actions in support of Maikel Nabil Sanad took place in Egypt (Asyut, Alexandria, and Cairo) and internationally (Athens, Barcelona, Frankfurt, Helsinki, London). Besides War Resisters' International, a range of international human rights organisations are demanding his immediate release, including Amnesty International, Reporters without Borders, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and the European Bureau for Conscientious Objection. The board of the European Youth Forum issued a statement of support on 4 September 2011.

War Resisters' International is extremely worried about the life of Maikel Nabil Sanad. We therefore ask for urgent protest letters/emails/faxes to the Egyptian authorities and embassies, demanding Maikel Nabil Sanad's immediate release. More information is available at http://wri-irg.org/campaigns/supportmaikelnabil.

Sources: Communication with supporters of Maikel Nabil Sanad in Egypt; War Resisters' International: EGYPT: Update: Imprisoned pacifist blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad on hunger and thirst strike, 30 August 2011; War Resisters' International: EGYPT: Imprisoned pacifist blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad on hunger strike moved to solitary confinement, 25 August 2011; War Resisters' International: EGYPT: Imprisoned pacifist blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad on hunger strike, 24 August 2011