Egypt’s military rulers are responsible for the life of a jailed blogger on the 43rd day of a hunger strike, Amnesty International warned today after a Cairo military court adjourned his appeal hearing until 11 October.
Maikel Nabil Sanad, aged 26, has been on hunger strike since 23 August to protest against his conviction and imprisonment for comments he made on Facebook and his blog related to the Tahrir Square protests earlier this year and his views on the military in Egypt.
Nabil Sanad, whose health has significantly worsened in recent days, was unable to attend today’s hearing in Cairo.
“Maikel Nabil Sanad’s dire predicament highlights the ongoing abuses faced by prisoners of conscience in Egypt,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
“Civilians should never face trial before military courts, which are fundamentally unfair, as they deny defendants basic fair trial guarantees, including the right to proper appeal.”
“It seems that little has changed since the ‘January 25 Revolution’. The Egyptian authorities must urgently act to rectify the injustice done to this blogger whose life is in danger after his wrongful imprisonment.”
A lawyer representing the blogger said he was unable to plead before the court in today’s hearing because the presiding judge did not have the original case file in the court room. He said he believed the postponement had been intentional.
In the Egyptian military court system, appeals are limited to legal points and do not include a review of the facts of the case and the evidence.
After his arrest at his home in Cairo on 28 March, a military court sentenced Maikel Nabil Sanad on 10 April to three years in prison over his criticism of the Egyptian military’s use of force against protesters in Tahrir Square and his objection to military service.
The blogger’s weight has plummeted since he went on hunger strike and prison authorities have removed medication he needs to treat a heart condition.
“The postponement is like a death sentence against Maikel because he has vowed to stop drinking water if not released today,” his father Ibrahim Nabil Sanad told Amnesty International.
May 4th, University of Makerere:
Students threaten Hunger Strike
Against State repression
Police attacked students at the University of Makerere (Uganda) during a protest against tuition fees on April 15th injuring 70 people. During the following two weeks riots broke out in Kampala, when people protested rising prices for food and fuel. Furthermore “security” forces violently arresting an opposition leader, attacking protesters using live amunition, rubber bullets and tear gas killing at least two people and injuring more than 120.
Some students at Makerere University have declared their will to go on hunger strike on the 4th of May if on the 2nd of May cases of police beating, shooting or injuring civilians are reported as the walk-to-work campaign resumes. The student leaders however, claim that this move is not mandatory to other students.
The walk-to-work campaign is breeding other means of protest with the latest being a threat to go on hunger strike by the Makerere University community. The chairman LC5 of Makerere, Benard Luyiga who successfully staged a hunger strike in 2006 has declared that he will sit outside the main gate and eat nothing on Wednesday 4th May if any person should be beaten, shot or arrested in an attempt to walk to work saying that his decision is based on the need to have a society where security respects the noble cries of the citizens.
Luyiga’s move has been re-echoed by the guild president of Makerere University, Denis Onekalait and other student representatives saying that he will contribute to the strike but he wont organize a wholesome urging that it should be on a personal basis.
Joseph Kakooza the IPC representative of said that he has already mobilized 200 students, 150 of which are IPC and the other 50 are NRM to go for the strike.
The initiator of the hunger strike, Councillor Benard luyiga says that there is no definite time span for his hunger strike but the guild president Onekalait says that he will only do three days.
The student leaders are also asking the Inspector General of Police, Kale kayihura to maintain the faith they have in him by restraining any more unfortunate confrontation between police and the civilians.