Egyptian Activists to be Held for a Further Fifteen Days in Jail


  • Alaa abd el Fattah and Maikel Nabil continue to be held in jail

  • Abd el Fattah’s mother’s hunger strike enters it’s 2nd week, 9 more join

  • UN calls for end to military trials of civilians

  • International Day of Solidarity with Egypt sees protests in 23 cities

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This Sunday, jailed Egyptian activists, Alaa Abd El Fattah and Maikel Nabil were both ordered by court martial to be kept in jail for a further fifteen days.

Abd El Fattah was jailed on 30th October, accused of assaulting military personnel, stealing military weaponry and destroying military property and unlawful gathering against during the events of 9 October at Maspero, when 28 civilians were killed by the Egyptian Army, as several eye witnesses and human rights organisation assert. On questioning, Abd El Fattah declined to answer the prosecutor’s questions, stating that it is illegal and a clear conflict of interest for the military, as a party accused of a crime in the same events, to hold proceedings or adjudicate fairly. He was sent to detention pending further military investigation.

Abd El Fattah remains in jail because he is deemed a flight risk. Despite the fact that he returned from San Francisco (where he was giving a keynote address at a human rights conference) to face his charges and his wife is due to give birth to their first child in eleven days.

A new video was released by Cairo media collective Mosireen, showing clear evidence of protesters being killed by military vehicles. 31 civilians are now in jail. A further 11 stand accused. We have no evidence that a single soldier or officer has been charged.

Maikel Nabil was sentenced to three years for “insulting the military establishment” and “spreading false information” in a blog post. A retrial was ordered - though it will also be in a military court - but was postponed today to November 27th, 2011.

Abd El Fattah and Nabil are two of at least 12,000 Egyptian civilians who have faced courts martial in front of a military judge. Those subjected to courts martial are unable to call witnesses, are not privy to evidence used against them and have limited access to lawyers. The court has a 93% conviction rate, minors have been sentenced to serve in adult jails, torture is widespread, women have been subjected to sexual assault by being forcibly administered virginity checks and at least eighteen death sentences have been handed down.

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Alaa’s mother, Dr. Laila Soueif, a well-respected activist and professor of mathematics at Cairo University, started a hunger strike on Sunday 6th November in protest against her son’s illegal imprisonment. Nine other people have already joined her on strike and tomorrow, Monday 14th, a general meeting of university of academics is being held to decide how best to support her.

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The UN human rights office has called on the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to release Alaa Abd El Fattah and all those imprisoned for exercising free speech. The spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said Egypt must "guarantee full respect for the freedom of expression" and that his agency is "concerned about what appears to be a diminishing public space for freedom of expression and association" in Egypt. He also said the agency was disappointed that its calls for Egypt repeal its emergency rules and end military trials of civilians have been ignored.

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A coalition of activist groups in Cairo called for an International Day of Solidarity on November 12th to protest the ongoing court-martialling of Egyptian citizens. Groups in 24 cities responded to the call, staging protests in 24 cities across 3 continents, Paris, Budapest, New York, San Francisco and Oakland. The protests ranged from marches against arms dealers, international skype meetings, puppet shows, and poetry readings.


Photographs, videos and statements of solidarity are all collected here.


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No to Military Trials for Civilians:


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No to Military Trials for Civilians:


The Guardian: Protesters prepare for global day of action against Egypt's military junta


"Egypt: new call for end to military trials after detention of blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah" - 31 October 2011


"Egypt military court ‘toying with life’ of jailed blogger" Amnesty International - 13 October - Maikel Nabil


"Egypt: Retry or Free 12,000 After Unfair Military Trials" HRW - 10 September 2011


"Egypt: Release Blogger on Hunger Strike" 30 August 2011


"Egypt: Military Intensifies Clampdown on Free Expression" 17 August 2011 - On Asmaa' Mahfouz's questioning


"Egypt: End military trials, scrap repressive laws" - 25 June 2011


"Supreme Military Court Sentences Minor to Death... EIPR Urges Immediate Suspension

of the Sentence and a Full Review of Cases Heard by the Military Judiciary" 17 May 2011


"Egypt: Military Trials Usurp Justice System" 29 April 2011


"Human Rights Organizations Condemn the Trial of Civilians before Military Courts" - 2 March