PEN International reiterates its calls for the immediate and unconditional release of blogger and activist Maikal Nabil Sanad, who remains detained pending a retrial for his critical online comments. Sanad is reported to have been on hunger strike for over 80 days and concerns for his health are mounting.

Background Information

Mikhail Nabil Sanad, better known by the pseudonym Son of Ra, was arrested on March 28, 2011. On April 9, 2011, a military tribunal handed him a three-year sentence on charges of “insulting the military institution, disseminating false news and disturbing public security” for comments made on his blog, in which he accused the new government of anti-democratic practices and of continuing the corruption of former president Hosni Mubarak. The sentence helped to spark a nationwide protest against the use of military trials for civilians and led to increased fears that the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) was failing to live up to its promises of a post-Mubarak transition to democracy.
Sanad’s sentence was overturned by a military court on October 12, 2011, reportedly as a result of public pressure, although he has been kept in detention pending a retrial. The retrial has been twice postponed, on November 1 and 13, 2011, because Sanad refuses to recognize the legitimacy of a military court or accept a court-appointed lawyer, who, on November 1, 2011, ordered Sanad to be transferred to El-Khanka psychiatric hospital for examination and assessment for 45 days. His trial is now scheduled for November 27. Sanad has reportedly been on hunger strike since August 23, 2011, in protest against his continued detention, and is said to be very weak.
In a statement released from El-Marg prison on November 1, 2011 Sanad said, “Our revolution has been in defense of freedom, justice and rights. We offered sacrifices before the revolution and after it, for enforcing the state of law. I am a civilized person; I refuse to be tried before a military judicature or any exceptional judicature, especially any judicature lacking independence. I refuse to be tried for my beliefs or my opinions.”

Write A Letter

  • Protesting the continued detention of blogger and activist Maikel Nabil Sanad;
  • Calling for the charges to be dismissed at once and for his immediate and unconditional release;
  • Expressing concern over reports that Maikel Nabil Sanad’s health has deteriorated as a result of his hunger strike, and seeking an update on his condition as a matter of urgency;
  • Reminding the Egyptian authorities of their obligations to protect freedom of expression as guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, to which Egypt is a signatory.

Send Your Letter To

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
+202 2 412 0980 /  +202 2 412 0980   

Minister of Defence
His Excellency Muhammad Tantawi
Ministry of Defence
Cairo, Egypt
Email: [email protected]; [email protected]

Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Egypt in your country if possible.

Please send appeals immediately. Contact PEN if sending appeals after November 30, 2011: ftw [at]