Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Europe's Plan for Putin - Will Russian Leader Bend After New Sanctions? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Europe's Plan for Putin - Will Russian Leader Bend After New Sanctions?

Read more

FOCUS

Pakistan's Ahmadis living in fear of extremist attacks

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users show solidarity with Iraqi Christians

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Gilles Kepel, Islamic and Arab world specialist

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Argentina braced for another debt default

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'What would you do?'

Read more

  • US and EU slap Russia with fresh sanctions over Ukraine

    Read more

  • Scores killed as Israel ramps up Gaza bombardment

    Read more

  • 24 killed in stampede at Guinea rap concert

    Read more

  • Prosecutor says captives were killed for organ harvesting in Kosovo

    Read more

  • Graphic: Ebola spreads across West Africa

    Read more

  • Islamists seize key Benghazi army base as fuel fire rages on

    Read more

  • In pictures: ن - a sign of support for Iraq’s persecuted Christians

    Read more

  • Calls mount to ban France’s ‘violent’ Jewish Defence League

    Read more

  • Venezuela: Hugo Chavez’s ‘little bird’ strikes again

    Read more

  • France extradites suspected Jewish Museum shooter to Belgium

    Read more

  • Video: How tourism is helping Rwanda’s gorillas, ex-poachers

    Read more

  • Rare Sri Lankan leopard cubs born in French zoo

    Read more

  • US says Russia violated arms treaty by testing cruise missile

    Read more

  • Argentina in last-ditch effort to avert default

    Read more

Africa

Egyptian blogger sentenced to two years for criticising army

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-12-14

An Egyptian military court sentenced Michael Nabil, a blogger who had criticised the army, to two years in jail Wednesday. He had originally been sentenced to three years, but got a second trial after going on hunger strike.

AFP - An Egyptian military court sentenced a blogger who criticised the army to two years in prison on Wednesday after he went on a hunger strike to protest an initial three-year sentence.

"In the name of the people, Michael Nabil has been sentenced and punished with two years in prison and fined 200 pounds ($33)," the court said after a retrial.

Nabil, who had criticised the ruling military on his blog and called on people to avoid the draft, had been sentenced to three years in April in a widely criticised trial.

He has been on hunger strike since August. His brother Mark told AFP that Nabil "will escalate his hunger strike. He was drinking juice and milk, but now will only drink water."

Heba Morayef, a researcher for Human Rights Watch, said the new sentence was a disappointment, although Nabil was likely to spend a year in prison because of the time he served.

"There are times when the military has used these trials as a face-saving measure to release someone improperly detained," said Morayef, who is based in Cairo.

"The military was offering another option, that they would release him in return for an apology," she said. "But because of his principle -- he didn't recognise the legitimacy of military trials -- it has turned into a battle of wills."

The military took charge after an uprising forced President Hosni Mubarak to resign in February.

It has faced criticism for sentencing thousands of civilians in military courts for offences ranging from assault and rape to insulting the ruling generals.

In September, the military denied Nabil was a "prisoner of conscience."

"What Nabil wrote on his blog is unrelated to opinion; it was a clear transgression of all boundaries of insult and libel, and manufactured lies against the armed forces," the official MENA news agency quoted a military official as saying.

Nabil's sentencing is likely to cast doubt on the military's insistence that it does not target people because of their political beliefs.

Nabil's views are unpopular in Egypt: he is a supporter of Israel, and has said that he would not serve in the military because he is a pacifist.

But he has become a cause celebre among anti-military and rights activists for his dogged refusal to apologise to the military, even after his hunger strike reportedly took a heavy toll on his health.

Last month, the military jailed another blogger and activist, Alaa Abdel Fattah, on charges of inciting deadly clashes between soldiers and Christians in October.

Fattah's imprisonment sparked international condemnation, leading the military to refer his case to a civilian prosecutor this month.

Date created : 2011-12-14

  • EGYPT

    Army, Islamists at loggerheads over constitution

    Read more

  • EGYPT

    Military hands presidential powers to new PM

    Read more

  • Egypt

    Defiant protesters reject army's interim PM

    Read more

COMMENT(S)