Blogger Mikel Nabil to be retried in military court

First published in 11/10/2011

Mikel Nabil Sanad, a blogger charged with insulting the armed forces, is slated to be retried in military court, according to his lawyers and family.

The Supreme Military Court of Appeals annulled Monday Sanad’s previous ruling, issued by a military court, that sentenced him to three years in prison.

Sanad was charged with “insulting the armed forces,” “publishing false news,” and “disturbing public security.”

According to Negad al-Borey, Sanad’s lawyer, the 26-year-old blogger will remain in prison in the until the court schedules the retrial on 13 October.

 “The court could have taken the decision to release him but it didn’t,” said Borey.

Sanad has been on a hunger strike for 50 days and will continue until he is released, according to his brother Mark.

“It is not a victory. I expected today to be a victory, but he will be retried,” said Mark after he exited the court session.

Sanad did not attend today’s court session because he is too weak, according to his lawyer. His brother and other family members were present in court.

The charges against Sanad include libel for insulting military officers by name, which his lawyers denied.

“There’s not enough evidence to prove that he is actually the one who wrote it on his blog and Facebook,” said Waleed Abdel Raouf, one of Sanad’s lawyers.

According to Abdel Raouf, the prosecution didn’t even confiscate Sanad’s personal computer to prove that he wrote the posts on which the charges are based.

The last session of Sanad’s trial, held on 4 October, was adjourned because the judge said the court documents were not in order. Many of Sanad’s supporters feared that delay could mean death for the hunger striking blogger and pacifist activist.

A small number of Sanad’s supporters gathered outside the court quietly without chanting unlike previous trials.

Meanwhile, Sahar Maher, a supporter of Sanad who was arrested last week outside Sanad’s trial for videotaping the protest was released today and found innocent by the military court.

She was charged with assembling outside and taking pictures of a military zone.

Ten protesters arrested during a march to the Ministry of Defense in early September are also being tried at the same military court facility. Their trial has been suspended until 20 October.