Maikel Nabil Sanad, considered the first prisoner of conscience since the ousting of former President Hosni Mubarak, was released on Tuesday 24 January 2012, a day before the anniversary of the outbreak of the 2011 Egyptian revolution. Mr Sanad, a well known blogger and critic of military rule, was detained for 10 month following an unfair trial before a military court.
Alkarama sent a request to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) 9 June 2011 to intervene with the Egyptian authorities on behalf of Mr. Sanad. The organization called for the immediate release of Mr. Sanad, as his heavy sentence was solely based on the fact that he had expressed his opinion.
On 23 June 2011, the WGAD adopted an Opinion stating that the detention of Mr Sanad was arbitrary, as he was subjected to an unfair trial, and called for his immediate release.
Mr Sanad was arrested on 28 March 2011 at his home on accusations of having criticized the army for using force against protesters in Tahrir Square on his blog. He was the object of a rushed trial and was convicted on 11 April 2011. Mr. Sanad was sentenced to three years imprisonment and a fine. He was detained in a military prison in Cairo.
In protest to his unfair trial and detention, Mr Sanad went on a hunger strike which he continued for 100 days, resulting in the severe deterioration of his health.
On 21 January 2012, Egyptian Field Marshall Tantawi, head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which is governing Egypt during the transition period, issued a pardon for nearly 2000 Egyptian civilians detained following trials before Military Courts.
Following his release Mr Sanad made a statement in which he refused to be released on pardon; saying that he should never have been arrested in the first place for exercising his right to freedom of expression and freedom of thought.
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