Maikel Nabil's family on edge as postponed trial nears

Sarah Raslan, Sunday 9 Oct 2011

Blogger to continue hunger strike if not released at appeal trial on Tuesday while the ruling military council ignores family's appeals to transfer him to hospital

Maikel Nabil
Maikel Nabil's family on edge as postponed trial nears (Photo: Sarah Raslan)

As Maikel Nabil’s postponed trial date approaches, family and supporters are more worried than ever about the young blogger’s deteriorating health. They held a press conference on Sunday at the Hisham Mubarak Law Centre to express their agony.

After hearing the outcome of last week’s trial, the 28-year-old activist temporarily stopped water intake in addition to his hunger strike.

“We went to visit him on Saturday and were able to convince him to break his thirst strike and wait until the trial happens on Tuesday,” said Mark Nabil, the activist’s younger brother.      

Nabil has been on a hunger strike for 48 days and has told family he has no plans of ending his hunger strike if he is not freed. He has also vowed to resume his thirst strike depending on the outcome of his postponed appeal trial on Tuesday, 11 October.

With Maikel’s health failing, his family said they have sent more than 20 petitions for his transfer to a hospital for appropriate medical attention. They said they have sent petitions to SCAF, Chief Tantawi and the interior ministry, all of which were left unanswered.

The young man now weighs only 44 kilograms, according to his family.

“Maikel needs to be transferred to a hospital as soon as possible,” Mark said. “He told me that the prison hospital only has equipment to check blood pressure and blood sugar. Maikel said it worries him when they check his blood sugar because their equipment is dirty and he has no immunity now.”

Maikel’s family said in their petitions to send their son to a hospital that they would take responsibility for all of the bills.

Mark said the military requested his father offer a formal apology to the army on behalf of Maikel. In an effort to help his son gain freedom from military prison, Maikel’s father made the apology but no action was taken by the army.

“I don’t agree with the apology my dad offered because I don’t think Maikel did anything wrong,” Mark added.

Maikel Nabil will not be the only one waiting to hear a verdict this week.

Sahar Maher, who was arrested last week as she demonstrated against military trials and for Maikel’s freedom outside the courthouse where his sentence was being appealed, will stand trial on Tuesday as well.

Maher, who attended the press conference, said she was recording videos of the demonstrators on her mobile phone when an army colonel approached the crowd and began to threaten them and use force. She recorded the colonel threatening the demonstrators and he responded by twisting her arm, taking her phone and taking her inside the courthouse.

She added that she was told she would be taken inside the courthouse to retrieve her mobile phone but instead was questioned and told she would have to appear in court on 11 October for her trial.

“I was demonstrating against military trials and will now be facing one,” she said. “They asked me odd questions when they questioned me, such as whether or not I had ties to the foreign media.”

Maher is accused of assembling in front of a military institution, photographing a military institution and ‘military secrets’.

Presidential hopeful, Buthaina Kamel, who attended the press conference, mentioned she was also accused of insulting the military and said the ruling military junta is using the same system as Mubarak’s regime.

“We revolted against the interior ministry and got the military and military trials,” said the presidential candidate.

Kamel called for the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to transfer power to civilians.

“We don’t see the military junta as fitting to protect or rule us,” she said.

“I request that people turn off their TVs because they think watching is enough,” Kamel added. “I urge them to all file cases against the army as they (the army) filed cases against the people.”

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