October 19, 2011
An Egyptian blogger jailed for criticising the country’s military junta has declared himself ready to die, as his hunger strike enters its 57th day.
“If the militarists thought that I would be tired of my hunger strike and accept imprisonment and enslavement, then they are dreamers,” said Maikel Nabil Sanad, in a statement announcing that he would boycott the latest court case against him, which began on Tuesday. “It’s more honourable [for] me to die committing suicide than [it is] allowing a bunch of Nazi criminals to feel that they succeeded in restricting my freedom. I am bigger than that farce.”
Sanad, whom Amnesty International has declared to be a prisoner of conscience, was sentenced by a military tribunal in March to three years in jail after publishing a blog post entitled “The people and the army were never one hand”. The online statement, which deliberately inverted a popular pro-military chant, infuriated Egypt’s ruling generals who took power after the ousting of former president Hosni Mubarak, and have since been accused of multiple human rights violations in an effort to shut down legitimate protest and stifle revolutionary change.
The 26-year-old was found guilty of “insulting the Egyptian army”. The case helped spark a nationwide opposition movement to military trials for civilians, and cast further doubt on the intentions of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf), whose promises regarding Egypt’s post-Mubarak transition to democracy appear increasingly hollow.
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