December 16, 2011 | By Jillian York

New Developments in Egyptian Blogger Cases

We've written before about Maikel Nabil Sanad and Alaa Abd El Fattah, two Egyptian bloggers under fire.  Though their cases differ dramatically--Sanad was arrested for content written on his blog, while Abd El Fattah was charged in relation to his alleged involvement in the October 9 Maspero massacre--the two men have two things in common: both are being targeted for their opposition to military rule, and both--as civilians--have refused to recognize the right of a military court to try their cases.

Though Sanad had successfully appealed an earlier sentence of three years, on Wednesday he was sentenced once again, and this time to two years in prison by the Supreme Military Court of Appeals.  Because Sanad, a civilian, was tried by a military court, the decision cannot be appealed.

On Thursday, 27 out of 28 detainees arrested in relation to the events of October 9 were released, leaving Abd El Fattah the sole detainee left in prison.  According to The Daily News Egypt, lawyers said that since Abd El Fattah had already filed appeals that were rejected, he legally has no right to file another appeal for 30 days, whereas the released detainees had not appealed earlier decisions.  Abd El Fattah, who is charged with stealing army weapons, refused to be interrogated by a military prosecutor on the grounds that the military is guilty of crimes that took place during the events of October 9.  Human Rights Watch has called Abd El Fattah's detention "a blatant effort to target one of the most vocal critics of the military."

EFF reiterates our call for the immediate release of both Maikel Nabil Sanad and Alaa Abd El Fattah, prisoners of conscience in the Egyptian military's ongoing efforts to clamp down on freedom of expression.


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