Maikel Nabil: I will continue fighting for freedom and the 'No For Compulsory Military Duty' movement
Blogger Maikel Nabil, the head of "No for Compulsory Military Duty" movement who was sentenced to three years for allegedly insulting the Supreme Council of the Armed Forced (SCAF), was released on January 24 under conditional amnesty. Nearly 2,000 other detainees were also released.
Nabil was detained for 302 days having been charged with libel against the military and publishing false news. His blog post published last March on how "the army and the people were never one hand" provided evidence as to why the army had not supported or "protected" the revolution.
Nabil published a video announcement upon his release in which he thanked all Egyptian and international activists and entities who had supported him and defended his freedom, and condemned the decision of pardon that Field Marshal Husein Tantawi had given to free Nabil. He also demanded that the false charges against him be dropped.
Nabil was arrested at his home in late March of last year where he was sentenced to three years in prison on the charge of "sabotaging SCAF's reputation." His lawyers were not present at the time. Nabil boycotted his hearings after they were repeatedly postponed, and defense witnesses were barred from testifying.
Consequently, Nabil went on hunger strike starting August 2011, five months after his imprisonment.
"It was a form of non-violent struggle that lasted for 130 days . . . I spent 81 days consuming only milk and juice . . . [while] on 18 December, I refused to eat, living only on water for 10 days." said Nabil.
"SCAF was under continuous pressure thanks to the media attention my case got after the hunger strike," he added, pointing out that various international and local human rights agencies stood up for his case.
Maikel Nabil had been imprisoned for ten months where he recalls having to face torture, corruption and the threat of death.
"I was subjected to violations from some of the prisoners and the officers in Marg prison," he said. "In Tora prison, the military intelligence had sprayed my face with a drug that affected my mental capabilities before my trial. I said this on the court record but it was not investigated."
This was not Nabil's first confrontation with the Egyptian army. In 2009, Nabil established his "No for Compulsory Military Duty" movement that targeted the compulsory conscription of Egyptian men in the army as well as monitoring military violations against civilians. Early last February, he was arrested in Tahrir square on his way to protest.
Later on his blog, he accused the military officers who detained him of sexually harassing and beating him and the other prisoners too.
Nabil also believes that SCAF is the one to blame for the recent Port Said incidents.
"It is the only entity who dares to plan a massacre like Port Said . . . The protesters are wrong to direct their anger at the Ministry of Interior instead of the Ministry of Defense," he said.
Nabil confirmed his determination to continue fighting for the freedom of those detained in prisons until Egypt becomes a civilian democratic country.