On 6 April 2011, a military tribunal took place against Egyptian blogger Maikel Nabil, 26 years-old, on charges of “insulting the military” and yesterday 10 April the court sentenced Nabil for 3 years in prison.
After writing a post on his blog on the 7th of March 2011 titled “The Military and the People were never one hand” which was a research he did himself covering all the violations of the Egyptian army against human rights by arresting and torturing a huge number of protesters as well as activists, he got arrested on the 28th of March 2011 at night from his home in Ain Shams, Cairo for a military prosecution as he was accused of insulting the military and spreading wrong information.
Maikel had no chance of calling anyone or even a lawyer, he used a phone secretly from an officer to call his brother and tell him that he got arrested. Military prosecutions has been a big deal in Egypt as it is now normal for a civilian to get to a military court, sentenced to jail without a fair prosecution in front of a civilian court.
Maikel Nabil is sent to prison over a blog-post he wrote about violations committed by the military offices against civilians since the revolution and criticizing the army in Egypt.
During the past few years, Egyptian activists and journalists have broke many taboos through media platforms. The army and military forces was one of the main taboos during Mubarak’s time and is still a “red-line” in the offline media, and now the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces is threatening the online community by “punishing” netziens for practicing the right to freedom of expression and speaking about the military behavior.
The army in Egypt is sending a clear message that they don’t accept criticism and the charges against Nabil could be easily set against any other Egyptian netizen and human rights defenders to stop them from addressing human rights violations committed by military officers.
This is a clear violation of freedom of the speech. Bloggers should be free to express their opinions without censorship.
On behalf of all the Internet community, the journalists, those who defend freedom of opinion and speech and fight for a free media in the Arab World and everywhere. We call for the immediate release of Mikael Nabil and denounce the use of military courts in the civil society.
We demand an immediate release for Maikel as well as every activist who was arrested. This is the only way for the Egyptian government to break free from the oppressive ways of the old regime and create a democratic climate for a free online press.