Sentencing of pacifist blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad to three years' imprisonment

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Use this form to send the letter below to the relevant authority (Minister of Defense Mohamed Hussein Tantawi). You can add your own notes in a separate box after the standard text, if you wish. You must include a name, address, and email address; a copy will be sent to you with a cc to the WRI office (so we have a record of how many email letters have been sent out for this particular case).

I have learned that pacifist and conscientious objector Maikel Nabil Sanad has been arrested in the night of 28 March 2011 by the military, to appear in military court on the same day, on charges of "insulting the military institution" and "disturbing public security", based on articles he published on his blog.

He was sentenced secretly on 10 April 2011 to three years' imprisonment. On the day of the sentencing, his family and friends were told that the trial had been postponed to 12 April 2011, while in fact it was taking place. As a consequence, Maikel Nabil Sanad was on his own when he was sentenced, without any means even to inform his family.

Egypt is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Conscientious objection to military service is a human right, derived from article 18 of the ICCPR, as repeatedly stated by the UN Human Rights Committee.

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 prsion 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.

I urge you to immediately release Maikel Nabil Sanad. I urge you to respect human rights.

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