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Monday, April 11, 2011

How's that Egyptian democracy going?

From the NYT:

An Egyptian blogger was sentenced Monday to three years in prison for criticizing the military in what human rights advocates called one of the more alarming violations of freedom of expression since a popular uprising led to the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak two months ago.

The blogger, Maikel Nabil, 26, had assailed the Egyptian armed forces for what he called its continuation of the corruption and anti-democratic practices of Mr. Mubarak. Mr. Nabil often quoted from reports by established human rights groups.

The charges against Mr. Nabil included insulting the military establishment and spreading false information about the armed forces. The tribunal charged him with spreading information previously published by human rights organizations like Amnesty International on the army’s use of violence against protesters, the torture of those detained inside the Egyptian Museum and the use of forced pelvic exams, known as “virginity tests,” against detained female protesters.

The main evidence against Mr. Nabil, who blogged under the name “Son of Ra,” was a CD containing 73 screen shots of entries on his blog and his personal Facebook page, according to Heba Morayef, a researcher in Egypt for Human Rights Watch, which is based in New York.

Mr. Nabil has the unusual political position in Egypt of being a pacifist as well as a champion of Israel, often praising its democracy, educational standards and innovations.

Mona Seif, a rights advocate, said Mr. Nabil may have been singled out as an easy target partly because of previous run-ins with the military and partly because of his pro-Israel views.
Apparently, the Egyptian military figures that most Egyptians won't get too worked up about a Zionist being arrested.

Here is Nabil's blog post, in Arabic, describing why he is pro-Israel.

(h/t Silke)