Egypt May 5, 2011

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Egypt

H.E. Essam Sharaf
Acting Prime Minister
Arab Republic of Egypt
Fax: (011.20.2) 366.8048

H.E. Mohamed Hussein Tantawi
Chairman
Supreme Council of the Armed Forces
Arab Republic of Egypt

Your Excellencies:

We write to protest the recent three-year jail sentence imposed by a military court on the blogger and conscientious objector, Maikel Nabil Sanad, for posting a report on his blog criticizing the role played by Egypt’s armed forces in the country’s revolution earlier this year.  Sanat was arrested on March 28, tried on April 7, and sentenced on April 10 (without his defense or supporters present) for having accused the armed forces of taking part in the arrests and the torture of demonstrators.  The formal charges -- insulting the military, publishing false information and disturbing public security -- are unacceptably vague, and infringe on Sanad's right to seek and report information and express his opinions without retaliation or harassment.

The Overseas Press Club of America, an independent organization that has defended press freedom around the world for more than 70 years, joins its colleagues at Reporters Without Borders in urging you to release Shanad and review his trial, which violated the most basic principles of international law.  In the light of your professed determination to democratize Egypt, it is dismaying to see a civilian tried by a military court and to realize that even after the demonstrations and the forced resignation of former President Hosni Mubarak, the acting military government still can not tolerate being criticized and refuses to permit freedom of expression.

Respectfully yours,
Larry Martz                                                                                       
Jeremy Main
Co-chairmen, Freedom of the Press Committee

cc:

H.E. Sameh Shoukry
Ambassador of Egypt to the U.S.A.
Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt
3521 International Court, NW
Washington, DC  20008
Fax: (202) 244.5131

Ambassador Maged Abdelaziz
Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of the Arab Republic of Egypt to the United Nations
304 East 44th Street
New York, NY  10017
Fax: (212) 949.5999

H.E. Margaret Scobey
U.S. Ambassador to Egypt
Embassy of the United States of America
8 Kamal el Din Salah Street
Garden City, Cairo
Egypt
Fax: (011.20.2) 797.3200

Gamiel Eid
Executive Director
Arabic Network for Human Rights Information
info@anhri.net

The Editor
Weekly Ahram
editor@weekly.ahram.org.eg

The Editor
Egyptian Gazette
editor@egy.com

Claude Salhani
The Middle East Times
editor@metimes.com

Nahdet Misr
mickey@nahdetmisr.com
Daily News Egypt
editor@thedailynewsegypt.com.eg

Dreamt TV
editing@dreams.tv.eg

Maria Otero
Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC  20520

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