Hunger strike takes toll on jailed Egypt blogger

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An Egyptian blogger, who was jailed for spreading false information about Egypt’s military, is in declining health because of a hunger strike he began on August 23, his family and a rights group said.

His appeal was to be heard on Tuesday but was postponed to October 11 because the judge said he did not have the necessary documents before him, Mark Nabil, Maikel’s brother, said.
“Maikel is not going to make it to next week’s hearing. He can’t last. Every doctor we have spoken to has said no one can last more than 43 days without food,” he told Reuters, adding the family wanted to visit his brother to convince him to eat, Reuters reports.

Reporters Without Borders, which described Nabil, 25, as a “prisoner of conscience”, said he was suffering from serious renal problems, anaemia and scabies.

Scuffles broke out between military police and protesters who gathered to condemn Nabil’s imprisonment and one activist was arrested, his borther said.

Reporters Without Borders said it had written to the attorney-general in Cairo on September 26 asking to visit Nabil in prison but had received no reply. His family say he is only drinking water and are increasingly worried about his health.

Nabil is serving a three-year sentence after a military court convicted him over remarks he posted on his blog in which he allegedly said the armed forces had tried to suppress demonstrators who overthrew President Hosni Mubarak in February. He was arrested at his home in Cairo in March and tried two weeks later.

Prior to the hearing, Reporters Without Borders said: “This appeal is the last chance for the authorities to show a commitment to human rights, justice and democracy. The court must recognize that he was unfairly convicted by a court martial because of his views and his articles.”