Egyptian activist begins hunger strike to protest military trial

Cairo – Egyptian blogger Maikel Nabil began a hunger strike in his prison cell on Tuesday, protesting his three-year sentence on charges of ‘insulting the military,’ activists said.

Nabil was arrested in March and reportedly tortured before being referred to a military court. He was sentenced in April – becoming the first blogger to receive a jail sentence for expressing his opinions since the revolution that toppled president Hosny Mubarak in February.

Activists and bloggers launched an internet campaign Tuesday in solidarity with Nabil. They accused the prosecutors of discrimination, saying that several activists have been pardoned by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which has been ruling the country since February.

On Friday, military prosecutors pardoned Asmaa Mahfouz, an activist and a co-founder of the April 6 Youth Movement, on charges of defaming the army and inciting armed violence via her Facebook page.

Unlike civil trials, military courts are usually held behind closed doors, and the defendants have no right to appeal their verdicts.

More than 10,000 civilians have been prosecuted by military tribunals since Mubarak’s ouster, according to human rights groups.


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