Detained blogger enters day 41 of hunger strike as health deteriorates further

Sarah Raslan , Sunday 2 Oct 2011

Maikel Nabil vows to refuse water depending on appeal verdict set for 4 October; family fear for his life as military council refuses hospital transfer

Maikel Nabil

Entering day 41 of his open-ended hunger strike, the family of detained Egyptian blogger, Maikel Nabil, is increasingly frustrated with the military council's refusal to transfer the young activist to hospital. 

Activists from the Hisham Mubarak Law Centre previously told Ahram Online that doctors said Maikel would not live past 40 days of continuous hunger-strike. 

Mark Nabil Sanad, the activist's 19-year-old brother, said Maikel's health is deteriorating and that he is suffering from kidney failure.

"He won't stop his hunger strike until he gets justice," Mark said. 

Maikel's family is filing an appeal to the military prosecution against the verdict on Tuesday, 4 October. His brother said family and supporters of Maikel's cause will be standing in front of the court house, located in Cairo's Nasr City district, at 10 am on Tuesday. 

He added that Maikel told him that depending on the outcome of Tuesday's appeal, the activist will begin refusing water in addition to the hunger strike. 

With insufficient medical attention at the prison hospital, Maikel's family's efforts to transfer him to hospital have failed. 

"We sent petitions to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, prison officials and the interior minister begging them to allow Maikel to be transferred to a proper hospital," Mark said. 

"We even said that we will pay for any hospital bills. It won't cost them anything," he added. "We just want to save my brother's life."

Maikel has gone from weighing 60 kilograms to only 47 kilograms since he began his hunger strike.

Mark said he visited his detained brother in prison Saturday, which was the now 26-year-old's birthday.

He sadly added that his brother's condition has reached a dangerous near-death stage.

"He can't move and comes in sitting on a chair when we see him," Mark said. 

"Maikel can't properly speak and has difficulty moving his jaw."

Maikel was arrested late March after publishing a blog post titled, 'The people and the army were never one hand,' in reference to the popular revolution chant which showed people's trust in the military. The military accused him of "insulting the army" and sentenced him to three years in prison and an LE200 fine. 

Maikel previously had issues with the Egyptian army when he refused mandatory service in 2010. He had described himself as a pacifist who does not want to bear arms or fight Israel or join any organization which threatens Israel’s right to exist in the region, and was dismissed from military service. Maikel’s pro-Israel stance is unusual in the country and resulted in lots of criticism. Most of Maikel’s sympathizers do not support his pro-Israel stance but do support his right to freely express his opinions.

The detained activist will not be present at the appellate court on Tuesday. 


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