A jailed Egyptian blogger known for his anti-military and pro-Israel views is in
declining health because of a six-week hunger strike, his family and a rights
group said Tuesday.
Maikel Nabil’s appeal was to be heard Tuesday, but
was postponed to next week because the judge said he did not have the necessary
documents before him, Mark Nabil, the blogger’s brother said.
Egypt in Flux: A young pacifist versus the Egyptian army
broke out between military police and protesters who gathered to condemn Nabil’s
imprisonment, and one activist was arrested, his brother said.
voice is a rarity in the Egyptian (and wider Arabic) blogosphere, in that it is
consistently and enthusiastically supportive of Egypt’s neighbor Israel. His
supporters have hinted that his pro-Israel postings - and not just his
statements against the Egyptian military - are the primary reason the blogger is
now behind bars.
Reporters Without Borders – which described Nabil, 25,
as a “prisoner of conscience” – said he was suffering from serious renal
problems, anaemia and scabies. The organization said it had written to the
attorney-general in Cairo on September 26 asking to visit Nabil in prison, but
had received no reply.
“Maikel is not going to make it to next week’s
hearing. He can’t last. Every doctor we have spoken to has said no one can last
more than 43 days without food,” Mark Nabil said, adding the family wanted to
visit his brother to convince him to eat.
“Kefaya Punk,” a fellow
Egyptian blogger who has visited him in prison, said Nabil’s health is
“He looked unusually thin. His
natural body and face muscles were atrophied,” he told The Jerusalem Post
He added that Tuesday’s hearing had been postponed on the pretext
of the absence of a single document being missing, though that file could easily
have been obtained and the hearing proceeded. “If it was not for his belief in
freedom ... and non-violence resistance, he couldn’t have survived,” he
Nabil is serving a three-year sentence after a military court
convicted him over remarks he posted alleging that the armed forces had tried to
suppress demonstrators who overthrew Mubarak in February. He was arrested at his
home in Cairo in March and tried two weeks later.
The blogger has
continued writing from jail, sending handwritten letters to friends who then
post it online (http://maikel-nabil-injail.blogspot.com
week ago, Nabil urged Israelis to accept the Palestinians’ unilateral
declaration of statehood at the UN, writing that such a move is in the Jewish
state’s interest. “Israel has the right to live in peace for the first time in
its modern history,” he wrote.
“It is in the interest of Israel to end
the state of war, therefore getting-rid of its need for the hugely inflated
defense budget and taking advantage of this budget in favor for the Israeli
citizens who need education, health care and housing more than their need for
bullets, tear gas and cannon shells,” he added. “It is in the interest of the
Israeli youth not to lose years of their life in a compulsory military service,
who can take advantage of these years in building their future.”
Tuesday’s hearing, Reporters Without Borders said: “This appeal is the last
chance for the authorities to show a commitment to human rights, justice and
democracy. The court must recognize that he was unfairly convicted by a
court martial because of his views and his articles.” Reuters contributed to