EFF is thrilled by the news that Egyptian blogger Maikel Nabil (Sanad), detained since March 2011, was released today, just one day prior to the anniversary of Egypt's January 25 uprising. Though earlier reports suggested Nabil would not be released until the 26th, Al Masry Al Youm reported his release late Tuesday evening.
Nabil, a prisoner of conscience whose unfair trial EFF has highlighted numerous times, was arrested last March after criticizing the army on his blog and was tried in a military court. Though he successfully appealed an initial three year sentence, he was later sentenced to two years in prison by a Supreme Military Court of Appeals. Nabil committed to a hunger strike for more than 120 days, consuming only liquids, to protest his detention.
Nabil's release was announced alongside another that 1,959 other prisoners would also be freed to mark the anniversary of the revolution.
In a video statement [in Arabic] released in the early hours of January 25, Nabil stated that he refuses the decision of the military dictator to grant him pardon, saying that he never committed a crime to be pardoned. "I was practicing my right to freedom of thought and speech. I committed no crime," the blogger said.
EFF applauds the decision to release Nabil but recognizes the call from Egyptians (including Nabil himself) to put an end to military trials for civilians. As the anniversary of the revolution approaches, we will be keeping a close eye on Egypt to ensure free expression is protected.