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Middle East
Mistrial declared in case of Egyptian blogger
Maikel Nabil has been on hunger strike for 45 days in protest of his three-year sentence for criticising the military.
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2011 15:43
Nabil will remain in prison and continue his hunger strike while authorities decide on a new trial date

A mistrial ruling has been declared in the case of imprisoned Egyptian blogger Maikel Nabil, who has been on hunger strike for 45 days in protest of his three-year prison sentence for criticising the country's military.

Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros, reporting from Cairo, spoke to Nabil's brother about the ruling.

"He told us how the judge had essentially decided to declare that verdict that they had given Maikel Nabil back in April, giving him a three years sentence, null and void.

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Concern for Egyptian hunger-strike blogger

"So what will happen now is that in two days time the case will be transferred from the military trial to the military prosecutor, and he will then decide on another date with which to start this military trial for Maikel Nabil all over again."

Tardos explained that the trial was an appeals case that was not tasked with investigating Nabil's guilt. Instead, it looked into procedural issues behind the case.

"They found problems with the procedure during the initial trial and that is why a retrial is being called," she explained.

The 26-year-old blogger was sentenced to three years in prison on April 10, 2011 for criticising the Egyptian military's use of force against peaceful protesters in Tahrir Square during the country's 18-day-long revolution.

'Death sentence'

Last week, Amnesty International urged Egypt's interim military rulers to release Nabil, whose health is quickly deteriorating due to his hunger strike.

“Civilians should never face trial before military courts, which are fundamentally unfair, as they deny defendants basic fair trial guarantees, including the right to proper appeal," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“It seems that little has changed since the 'January 25 Revolution'. The Egyptian authorities must urgently act to rectify the injustice done to this blogger whose life is in danger after his wrongful imprisonment.”

Tadros reported that Maikel's supporters "are very concerned about his health."

"And as far as we understand, he won't be let out in the interim period until another trial is called. He will actually stay incarcerated, which means he will stay on his hunger strike."

Ibrahim Nabil, Maikel's father, told Amnesty International that the postponement of his son's trial was "like a death sentence" against Maikel because he had vowed to stop drinking water if he was not released.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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