Hard Times for freedom of expression

Bikyamasr: Egypt’s jailed blogger’s brother harassed by police

Jailed Egyptian blogger Sanad's brother being harassed by police.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has condemned attempts to intimidate detained blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad’s brother, Mark Sanad, who says he has been threatened with imprisonment because of his public support for his jailed brother.

The press freedom organization reiterated on Thursday its calls for the detained netizen’s immediate release and urges the authorities to renounce the use of intimidatory methods worthy of the Mubarak era.

After visiting his brother in prison on September 20, Mark Sanad said: “I was threatened with being detained if I do not keep quiet and stop defending my brother. I will not stop. Let them detain me. I have no problem with that.” The authorities also allegedly hid drugs in his bag with the apparent aim of charging him with drug trafficking.

Mark Sanad said that his brother’s health is worsening, that he has already lost more than 12 kilos in weight after going on hunger strike, and that he is refusing to go to the prison infirmary. Mark added that he feared his brother will not hold out until his appeal, which is due to be heard on October 4.

A peaceful march was staged on September 19 to demand Maikel Nabil Sanad’s release and an end to trials of civilians before military courts. The march started at Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

The blogger’s father, Nabil Sanad, has received no reply to the seven letters he has so far sent to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to request his son’s release. He says he will take the Egyptian authorities before the International Court of Justice if his son dies in detention. Reporters Without Borders would encourage such an initiative.


Cyberdissidents: Syrian Protester Flogged and Beaten Amid Calls for International Intervention


Protesters throughout Syria have adopted the chant, “Hafez, your soul is cursed!” in reference to Hafez al-Assad, the father of current Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, and the man responsible for ordering the horrific Hama Massacre of 1982. The cry is significant as the former Syrian leader has been dead for over ten years, yet his legacy of oppression has been proven to be passed to his son.

In this video posted last Saturday, soldiers responded to the chants by isolating one man then flogging, beating, and cursing him. The video highlights the Mafia-like methods that the Syrian regime has and continues to employ when dealing with peaceful acts of protest.

Activists have been circulating the video on YouTube, pointing specifically to the protester’s calls for an international response to this government’s continued acts of violent suppression, echoing sentiments from many protesters in recent weeks calling for international protection and interference. The UN has estimated a count no fewer than 2,600 deaths since the beginning of the uprising on March 15th.



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