Continued imprisonment of Maikel Nabil Sanad

Thursday, September 8, 2011

His Excellency Wael Ahmed Kamal Aboul Magd, Ambassador to Canada
Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt
454 Laurier Avenue
Ottawa, ON K1N 6R3

Dear Ambassador,

I am writing on behalf of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), a non-profit, non-governmental organization that works to promote and protect press freedom and freedom of expression around the world.

CJFE remains gravely concerned about the continued imprisonment of journalist Maikel Nabil Sanad. He was arrested on March 28, 2011, and formally convicted of insulting the military on April 10. Despite being a civilian, he was tried in a military court and the guilty verdict was issued without his lawyers present. We wrote you a letter regarding this decision on April 28, 2011, expressing our concerns for the lack of due judicial process in the handling of Sanad’s case and the implications for free expression in Egypt.

Since then, the situation appears to have deteriorated further. On August 22, Sanad began a hunger strike in protest of his continued imprisonment and the delays in processing his appeal. More disturbingly, Sanad, who suffers from a pre-existing heart condition, has been denied access to the necessary medical care and placed in solitary confinement since August 24.

The conditions of Sanad’s imprisonment and the continued harassment of Egyptians who are critical of the transitional government are deeply troubling and threaten to recreate the same repressive environment associated with the former regime. Free expression, as enshrined in Article 12 of the provisional constitution, is crucial in any properly-functioning democracy and the transitional government needs to ensure that these rights are protected, rather than suppressed.

CJFE urges the transitional government of the Arab Republic of Egypt to provide Sanad with immediate medical attention and release him in recognition of his right to free expression. We remain hopeful that the transitional government will hold true to the democratic values of the Revolution and the Provisional Constitution.

We thank you for your attention and I look forward to your reply.

Yours Sincerely,

Arnold Amber
CJFE President

Cc: Mr. Ferry de Kerckhove, Ambassador of Canada to the Arab Republic of Egypt
The Honourable John Baird, P.C., M.P., Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs