Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Times today reports that Maikel Sanad is close to death from multiple organ failure. He is a Coptic Egyptian and aged 26.

He is also in jail and on hunger strike in protest at being tried before a military court without either himself or his lawyer present.  He was sentenced to three years.

His crime was blogging about the Revolution and questioned whether the army supported the people.

So would I be safe visiting Egypt? Would most of my readers who have written various critical posts on Facebook?  

My thoughts are with Maikel and his family.

The case also exposes the ongoing problem of the reliability of reports from Egypt.  At present the only reports seem to be essentially press reports reported in Ahram and occasion stories in Youm which tend to be almost impossible to verify.  We need independent bloggers able to report on the status of sites.  News from the Valley of the Kings used to rely on tourist reports and photos.  First the photos were blocked by preventing tourists taking photos on sites; now tourist numbers are badly down.

I know I have been quiet here. That is partly being busy. It is partly that there isn't much going on. But it's also that the news out of Egypt is restricted still.


Anonymous said...

Although i do not generally agree with politicizing this blog Kate i have to say i am glad you have raised this issue. The Armys role in the killing of the Copts recently and their intentions with regards to genuinely free elections needs to be publicized. I used to think that the Egyptian Army was just an impartisan caretaker, now i am not so sure. Having said that i do wish that this young man would give up his hunger strike.daveh

Kate Phizackerley said...

I also wish he would give up his hunger strike.

When blogging is such a big part of one's life, it is inevitable to feel a certain connection with fellow bloggers who suffer for their writing.

Anonymous said...

YeDavehs, i agree he is a fellow blogger and his right of freedom of expression must be fullyfought for.Re the ban on photographs, this is only on certain sites ie VOK and i do not think it is related to this issue!

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Marianne Luban said...

What has happened to the Copts reinforces my greatest fear ever since the revolution--that Egypt will become an intolerant Islamic state like Iran. Egypt wasn't quite ready for that at the time of the last revolution but both Copts and Jews suffered back then, too. But it's been leaning more and more toward conservative Islam with Egyptian moslem women covering their heads and other tokens.

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