21 April 2011
The Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International protests the three-year sentence handed down to Internet writer Michael Nabil Sanad, on 9 April 2011. Sanad was convicted for criticising former president Hosni Mubarak. PEN International considers Sanad's detention to be in violation of Article 19 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, to which Egypt is a signatory, and calls for his immediate and unconditional release.
According to PEN's information, Michael Nabil Sanad better known by the pseudonym of Son of Ra was sentenced to three years in prison on 9 April 2011 by a military tribunal on charges of "insulting the military institution, dissemination of false news and disturbing public security". He was convicted for comments on his blogs in which he accuses the new government of continuing the corruption and anti-democratic practices of the former president, Hosni Mubarak. He was arrested on 28 March 2011 then transferred to a Military Court which held its first hearing on 30 March, when the charge of disturbing public security was dropped. Another hearing was held on 4 April and the case was subsequently adjourned to 6 April. Sanad was previously arrested on 8 February, before former president Hosni Mubarak stepped down. The blogger was detained while participating in the anti-Mubarak protests for holding a banner which read "Civil, not military or religious." He is being held at Tora prison.
For further background information please see:
- International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX): The global network for free expression: http://www.ifex.org/egypt/2011/04/06/sanad_arrested/
-The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/12/world/middleeast/12egypt.html?hp