Prisoners 'pardoned' by Tantawi remain in prison

Wael Eskandar, Sunday 22 Jan 2012

Military ruler's pardon of nearly two thousand prisoners sentenced by military courts is now not expected to be executed until 26 January

Maikel Nabil
A photo of Maikel Nabil in Tahrir Square on 30 January holding a sign that reads "We refuse that the army steals the people's revolution." (Photo: Internet)

A pardon issued Saturday for the release of 1,959 prisoners sentenced by military courts will not be executed until 26 January.

Among the prisoners is blogger Maikel Nabil, whose lawyer, Amir Salem, said that his client was to be released today.

“I got this information yesterday from official sources. This was communicated to me by the assistant to the public-prosecutor and the assistant to the minister of interior,” said Salem. “I don’t understand what changed from yesterday to today.”

As well the disappointment of his delayed release, Nabil’s family, friends and supporters were attacked just outside Tora Prison where he is being held. According to Maikel's brother Mark, Michael Adel, a journalist, was arrested, taken inside the prison, and physically and verbally abused by Tora Prison police personnel.

“He was threatened and asked to leave,” says Salem. “They then threatened to accuse him of being a free mason just outside the prison gate in order for residents to give him a beating.”

The same Tora Prison had witnessed another protest on 9 November in solidarity with Alaa Abd El-Fattah. The protest was attacked by local residents who forced the protesters to leave the area.

This time the gathering was based on an event in which Mark Nabil invited people to join him in greeting his brother. Despite the event not being a protest and free of chants, the same aggression ensued.

According to Marina Kamal, a 25-year-old violinist who joined the event, “A man with white hair came and shouted very aggressively 'you have to leave.'”

“We were surrounded by so many people carrying sticks and bottles,” adds Kamal.

Some of the women in the group suffered verbal and physical harassment according to Mark Nabil and Kamal.

“The whole group was also threatened by the head of investigations of the prison, accusing them of being youth from 25 January and 6 April who are intent on destroying the country,” says Salem.

After the day's violence, Salem is filing charges against the Tora Prison police personnel.

Mark says, “The citizens armed with knives and glass bottles then boarded a Central Security Force truck that went inside Tora Prison after the attack.”

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