Egyptian Blogger Jailed for Three Years

The World

Form Your Opinion: Egypt protester marks bulletCairo, Egypt (CNN) -- An Egyptian military court has sentenced an activist blogger critical of the army to three years in prison, and it did so without his lawyers present, a development that drew stiff condemnation by human rights groups.Maikel Nabil, who was sentenced on Monday morning, had been arrested on March 28 and charged with "insulting the military establishment" and "spreading false information," according to Human Rights Watch.

A general in charge of the "Morale Affairs Directorate" of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces said on television that "Nabil had used 'inappropriate language' and defamed the military, and that his calls for an end to military conscription would have a negative effect on the youth of Egypt, according to Human Rights Watch. Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said the sentence "may be the worst strike against free expression in Egypt since the (Hosni) Mubarak government jailed the first blogger for four years in 2007." His group, which issued a statement on the sentence, said his trial "has serious implications for freedom of expression on the internet more generally and in particular the ability to expose military abuses." "The sentence is not only severe, but it was imposed by a military tribunal after an unfair trial," Stork said.

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