Maikel Nabil, the first Egyptian blogger to be jailed after former Egyptian president Hosny Mubarak stepped down from power, has been released.
Today, Maikel Nabil’s brother, Mark, announced via Twitter that Maikel had in fact been released, and shared a photo of the now free blogger. In the tweet, Mark said that Maikel is free and that he will release a statement shortly.
Maikel Nabil was originally sentenced to three years in prison for a blog post in which he documented attacks by the military against Egyptian civilians. He was charged with insulting the military, and with the sentence handed down in a military court, an appeal was not possible.
Thanks to the ‘No to Military Trials’ group, who have been tirelessly protesting, both online and off, the imprisonment of thousands of Egyptians in military jails, Nabil was granted a retrial in October. Discovering that he was to stand in front of a military judge once again, Nabil refused to take part in the proceedings, demanding to be tried in a civilian court.
The trial was postponed several times, and according to Egyptian daily, Al Ahram, the prosecutors had been attempting to secure information on Nabil’s Internet activity, provided by the Egyptian ISP, TE Data.
At the time, Nabil’s brother said, ”TE Data told the prosecution that they would not be able to provide them with this information and that the military should have requested that the internet company monitor the blogger’s activity prior to arrest.”
Earlier this week, the ruling Military Council announced that Maikel Nabil, along with almost 2,000 other prisoners had been pardoned, in the lead up to the one year anniversary of the beginning of the Egyptian uprising, on January 25th.
Following the announcement, Twitter was buzzing with news of Nabil’s impending release, only to come to the disappointing realization that he would remain in prison until after the anniversary had passed.
Nabil has spent the past nine months in prison, four of which he spent staging a hunger strike which nearly took his life. During that time, he was also transferred to a psychiatric hospital.
Nabil’s surprising release today comes, literally, on the eve of the anniversary of the uprising, as Egyptian activists are preparing to take to the streets once again, in protest against the Egyptian Military Council’s handling of the transitional period, and are calling for a transfer of power to civilian rule.