Egyptian rights group adds voice to calls for release of activist Mikel Nabil

The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) renewed its calls for the release of blogger Mikel Nabil, who has been given a prison sentence of three years for insulting the armed forces.

In a statement issued on Monday, the EOHR urged the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to reconsider all military trials of civilians.

Hafez Abu Seda, the head of the EOHR, said anyone who commits a crime has the right to be tried before a judge and defend him or herself.

Nabil was arrested on 28 March this year after publishing an article on his blog claiming the involvement of some army staff in the torture of detainees during the 25 January revolution. Nabil said his article was based on international news reports.

The military prosecution charged Nabil with disseminating false information and insulting the armed forces. In April, a military court sentenced Nabil to prison in a trial that his lawyers said did not satisfy the requirements for a fair trial. 

Rights activists believe bringing Nabil to trial is intended to suppress criticism of the SCAF during Egypt's current interim period. The SCAF assumed power after Hosni Mubarak stepped down on 11 February.

On Saturday the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders said in a statement that Nabil, who began a hunger strike on 23 August and more recently started refusing to drink, "could very soon die. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces would have to take full responsibility."

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