Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Egypt: Blogger’s 3-Year Sentence a Blow to Free Speech

Military Should Not Ratify the Sentence against Maikel Nabil

Human Rights Watch

April 11, 2011

"(New York) - The military court's sentencing of the blogger Maikel Nabil to three years in prison is a serious setback to freedom of expression in post-Mubarak Egypt, Human Rights Watch said today. The ruling comes at a time when the Egyptian military is drawing very restrictive red lines around permissible speech. "Maikel Nabil's three-year sentence may be the worst strike against free expression in Egypt since the Mubarak government jailed the first blogger for four years in 2007," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "The sentence is not only severe, but it was imposed by a military tribunal after an unfair trial." Military officers arrested the 25-year-old activist on March 28, 2011, at his home in Cairo. The military prosecutor charged him with "insulting the military establishment," under article 184 of the penal code, and with "spreading false information," a violation of article 102 bis.....

"State institutions, including the military, should never consider themselves above criticism," Stork said. "It is only through a public airing of abuses and full accountability measures that Egypt can hope to transition away from past human rights violations.""

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