February 9, 2012

Director of Military Judiciary
Major-General Ahmed Abd Allah
Military Judicial Department
Cairo, Egypt
Fax: +202 2 402 4468 / +202 2 411 3452

Military General Attorney
Major-General Medhat Radwan
Military Judicial Department
Cairo, Egypt
Fax: +202 2 412 0980 / +202 2 412 0980   

Minister of Defense
His Excellency Muhammad Tantawi
Ministry of Defense
Cairo, Egypt

Your Excellencies,

On behalf of the 3,500 members of PEN American Center, an international organization of writers dedicated to defending freedom of expression wherever it is threatened, we are writing to welcome the release of activist and blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad.

According to our information, Maikel Nabil Sanad was among 2,000 poltiical detainees to be released on January 21, 2012, days after an amnesty was announced by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). However, we understand that his conviction remains in place.

Maikel Nabil Sanad was arrested March 28, 2011, and on April 9, 2011, a military tribunal sentenced him to three years in prison for “insulting the military institution, disseminating false news and disturbing public security” for comments made on his blog accusing the ruling SCAF of anti-democratic practices and perpetuating the corruption of the Mubarak regime. On December 15, 2011, another military court heard his case and reduced his sentence to two years in prison. While in prison, Sanad came close to death as a result of a hunger strike. He was held in solitary confinement for much of his detention, and was sent to a psychiatric hospital for assessment.

PEN American Center welcomes the release of Maikel Nabil Sanad, but continues to call for all charges against him to be dropped and for the immediate and unconditional release of all those who remain detained in violation of their right to freedom of expression, as guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Egypt is a signatory.

Thank you for your attention to this critical matter.

Hannah Pakula
Chair, Freedom to Write Committee

Larry Siems
Director, Freedom to Write and International Programs

CC: Ambassador Sameh Shoukry
Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt
3521 International Ct. NW
Washington DC 20008
Fax: (202) 244-4319

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