Egyptian court cuts blogger's jail time

Michael Nabil to serve two years instead of three; blogger on hunger strike against Egyptian military council.

Maikel Nabil 311  (photo credit: Courtesy)
Maikel Nabil 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
An Egyptian military court convicted a political blogger Wednesday to two years in prison and a fine of 200 hundred Egyptian pounds ($33) for defaming the Egyptian armed forces and spreading false information.
Michael Nabil Sanad, 25, was arrested in March and began a hunger strike in the run-up to the trial, which was on appeal from his original three-year sentence.
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According to Egyptian daily Al Ahram, the prosecution was able to confirm that Nabil made defaming comments of the military, but was unable to prove that Nabil indeed wrote all the content on his blogging website.
Nabil was arrested at his home in Cairo and has already served about seven months of his sentence.
He is one of at least 12,000 civilians who have been tried since the ousting of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in February of this year, according to Amnesty International.
On October 28, the blogger was transferred to Abassia psychiatric hospital due to his deteriorating health during his hunger strike. The activist continued his hunger strike while hospitalized.
Nabil’s 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.
Regardless of his unusual views, Nabil was celebrated by Egyptian activists for his refusal to apologize to the Egyptian military, Egypt's current ruling authority. The Supreme Council of Armed Forces has become increasingly unpopular even amid parliamentary elections as activists call on it to hand over power to a civilian government.
Oren Kessler and Reuters contributed to this report.