Egyptian blogger on prison hunger strike

Reporters Without Borders issued a statement protesting the Oct. 4 decision by a military court in Cairo to postpone the hearing of jailed blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad’s appeal until Oct. 11. The postponement is way to keep Sanad in detention without hearing his case, the press freedom organization said. Family and supporters are more worried than ever about the young blogger’s deteriorating health, as he has now been on hunger strike for 48 days in protest of his detainment. However, at a press conference, his brother Mark said that Maikel is “staying strong and will not be broken.”

A demonstration in Sana’d support after the postponement was violently dispersed by soldiers, who arrested three journalists. They also seized cameras and mobile phones from both protesters and reporters. Material was confiscated from Al-Jazeera, Press TV and Christian Science Monitor personnel.

Sanad’s father, Nabil Sanad Ibrahim, has repeatedly written to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces requesting the release of his son, who was arrested March 28 for criticizing the armed forces, and sentenced to three years in prison by a military court on April 10.

Reporters Without Borders supports says this is part of a deteriorating climate for press freedom in Egypt. Plainclothes officers raided the Cairo offices of AlJazeera Mubasher Misr (AlJazeera Live Egypt) for the second time in a month on Sept. 29, detaining the journalist Mohamed Suleiman for several hours and confiscating material without a warrant. The previous raid was carried out on Sept. 11 by culture ministry and public broadcasting agency personnel, who examined the station’s official papers, seized mobile broadcasting equipment and arrested a technician. (The Daily News Egypt, Ahram Online, Oct. 9; RSF via, Oct. 5)

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