Egyptian blogger Maikel Nabil ends hunger strike after 130 days

Imprisoned blogger Maikel Nabil ended his 130-day hunger strike on Saturday after being transferred to a prison hospital on 1 January following allegations of abuse in the jail where he has been held since March 2011.

Mark Nabil, the blogger’s brother, reported that Maikel was assaulted in the prison following a 30 December visit. The next day his lawyer filed a complaint with the attorney general and the allegations are now being investigated.

According to Mark, an inmate beat his brother, and his complaints were ignored. He said police officers threatened to frame Maikel for religious contempt against the inmate, a former police officer imprisoned on murder charges who allegedly receives special treatment in jail.

Nabil, who was recently sentenced to two years in prison for insulting the military and “spreading false information” on his blog, went on hunger strike in order to draw attention to his case and expose the injustice of Egyptian military trials.

On 28 December, he wrote a blogpost from prison, slamming statements made by Mukhtar Al-Mulla, the general of Egypt’s ruling military council. Al-Mulla had dismissed concerns about the well-known cases of activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah and Nabil, saying that even though both “are Egyptian citizens”, and are “keen to protect all Egyptians,” they were only discussing “one citizen out of 85 million.”

Quoting John Stuart Mill, Nabil said:

If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.

Nabil then addressed his pleas to Egyptian society:

I am addressing myself to society, a society that was taught to accept the violation of One Citizen’s rights for the greater good of the community, as if the power that oppresses one will be able to later respect the rights of the community. This society that has accepted the displacement of the Nubian community in the name of national interest, that has accepted the expulsion of Egyptian Jews, the confiscation of their property, the revoking of their nationality, in the name of the interests of the majority. The same society that has sequestered gay rights, that has limited the individual freedoms of individuals under the guise of maintaining the family system and the interests of the greater society. It is time for the 85 Million to understand that their freedom is tied to the freedom of that One Citizen, that all freedom is lost once they allow the wolf to choose the first victim from amongst the herd, that they cannot regain the freedom of society unless every One Citizen is free.