Egypt: Military arrests pacifist activist and conscientious objector
Maikel Nabil Sanad threatened with 5 years sentence
(29.03.2011) War Resisters’ International, the international network of pacifist and antimilitarist organisations with more than 80 affiliates in more than 40 countries, is concerned about the arrest of Egyptian pacifist and conscientious objector Maikel Nabil Sanad.
According to reports from his friends, Maikel Nabil Sanad was arrested in the night of 28 March, when he was alone at home. He managed to call his brother on 29 March in the morning, to inform him about his arrest. He also told him that he would be tried in a military court on the same day, and that he is being threatened with a prison sentence of five years, on unknown charges.
Maikel Nabil Sanad is a pacifist and a conscientious objector to military service. He was first arrested in November 2010 for his conscientious objection, but released two days later. He was then discharged from military service for being unfit to serve. He was again arrested on 4 February 2011, during the time of the revolution. He was mistreated and threatened by the military, but released 27 hours later.
"This is not the first time the Egyptian military has arrested Maikel Nabil Sanad, nor is he the only case of an activist has been arrested after the revolution", says Andreas Speck, War Resisters’ International’s conscientious objection campaigning worker. "We fear that this time the military really wants to have a go at him, which means he needs all the support we can give him. His arrest and the fast-track trial in front of a military court are in clear violation of international human rights standards, especially the right to a fair trial. If this is the new Egypt, it does not seem to be better than the old one."
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Maikel Nabil Sanad is a known critic of the Egyptian military. On his blog http://maikelnabil.com, he regularly publishes his political opinion, including most recently a lengthy critique of the role of the military during the so-called Egyptian revolution. In this document, he detailed the arrest and torture of activists by the military during and after the revolution.*
"In a way, his arrest proof that his criticism of the role of the military in the revolution is very true", says Andreas Speck. "Far from being a free country, Egypt is presently governed directly by the military, which did never and does not now care for political freedom or human rights. The revolution might have gotten rid of Mubarak as figure head, but it has not - yet - achieved political freedom."
"War Resisters’ International calls on the Egyptian authorities to immediately release Maikel Nabil Sanad and all those other activists arrested during and after the revolution. And we call on everyone to make their protest heard with letters to Egyptian embassies wherever they live", he adds.
Director of Military Judiciary, Major-General Ahmed Abd Allah, Military Judicial Department, Cairo, Egypt, Fax: +202 2 402 4468 / +202 2 411 3452 (ask for fax)
Military General Attorney, Major-General Medhat Radwan, Military Judicial Department, Cairo, Egypt, +202 2 412 0980 (ask for fax)
Minister of Defence, His Excellency Muhammad Tantawi, Ministry of Defence, Cairo, Egypt,
A protest email can be sent at http://wri-irg.org/node/12474.
War Resisters’ International: Egypt military arrests pacifist activist and conscientious objector Maikel Nabil Sanad. Press Release, March 29, 2011
* His study is available in English at http://www.maikelnabil.com/2011/03/army-and-people-wasnt-ever-one-hand.html