Nabil Released by Egyptian Authorities [but] “Our pursuit for freedom of speech in Egypt is far from over” says HRC Chair Abir Al-Sahlani

Following the release of Egyptian blogger and political prisoner Maikel Nabil, LI Vice President, and Chair of the Human Rights Committee, Abir Al-Sahlani MP has expressed satisfaction over his release, but remains concerned with the on-going treatment of political prisoners in Egypt.

“Today, the international liberal family — alongside all those who fight for freedom of speech — applauds the release of Maikel Nabil. Following the tireless efforts of prominent liberals from around the world, the Egyptian government has released a young man who did nothing but question the worrying trends associated with the interim military administration in Egypt. However, our pursuit for freedom of speech in Egypt is far from over. Maikel Nabil, a civilian tried by a military tribunal was not released because his critique of the military was deemed valid — rather he was pardoned by the Supreme Military Council. His alleged crime, criticism of the government, remains a punishable offence. Liberals and democrats must continue to apply pressure to ensure that Egypt transforms into a country the democracy that those who overthrew the Mubarak despotism intrepidly fought for.

I call on the Egyptian authorities and the new parliament to change the legislation so that the military can no longer prosecute civilians in tribunals for expressing their opinions and beliefs freely. As Liberal International we stand firmly behind Maikel Nabil and his demands so that true democracy can finally triumph in Egypt.” 

Egyptian blogger Maikel Nabil was released from prison on Tuesday (24 January) after spending 10 months jailed by the interim governing Supreme Military Council. 1,969 political prisoners were also released. 25 January 2012 marks the first year anniversary of the uprising that eventually saw the ousting of former Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak.

Note to Editors:

• Liberal International adopted a resolution in support of Maikel Nabil at its 57th Congress in Manila
• As Human Rights Chair, Ms. Al-Sahlani has been personally involved in the efforts to release Maikel Nabil
• The Hon. Irwin Cotler, MP (Liberal Party of Canada), and a Member of LI's Human Rights Committee, served as International Counsel to Maikel Nabil and strenuously advocated on his behalf.
• The International Federation of Liberal Youth has been actively involved in a grassroots campaign to draw attention to Mr. Nabil's case

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