Egyptian blogger Maikel Nabil was released from prison on Tuesday after spending 10 months jailed by the military junta, his brother said, confirming the release by posting a picture of him on social media site Twitter.
Nabil, who spent nearly half of his time in prison on a hunger strike, was initially sentenced to three years imprisonment for writing a blog post which was sharply critical of the role of Egypt’s army during unrest which followed the removal of President Hosni Mubarak last February.
Nabil wrote a blog post in March 2011 entitled “The army and the people were never one hand,” questioning the role of the military in the revolution and condemning the takeover of the ruling military council.
Earlier in the week, the Egyptian state television had wrongly announced his release after he was pardoned on Saturday “on the occasion of the first anniversary of January 25,” when the uprising began against Mubarak, Egypt’s military judiciary chief said.
“If Maikel Nabil perishes, so does the dream of a free Egypt,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based U.N. Watch, after the blogger went on hunger strike.
Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa deputy director Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui said: “The end of Maikel Nabil’s cruel ordeal at the hands of the military council is a cause for real celebration.
“Yet 10 months of Maikal’s life have been wasted. He should never have been arrested in the first place. His criminal record must now be expunged and he must be compensated for his ordeal.
“The Supreme Counvil of the Armed Forces should have freed Maikel Nabil long ago. It is shameful that they apparently have only done so now to try to avoid criticism on the anniversary of January 25,” Sahraoui added.
(Written by Eman El-shenawi)