By Barry Rubin
The group that began the Egyptian revolution had just two important priorities before setting to overthrow the Mubarak regime earlier this year. One of them, to end all Egyptian sanctions against the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip, is well on its way to success. The other, to protect bloggers from being arrested by the authorities, has now failed.
An Egyptian military tribunal just found guilty the 26-year-old Maikel Nabil Sanad. What is his alleged crime? Insulting the army. How did he do it? Reported about misbehavior by the army. What is his sentence? Three years in prison.
Sanad, a civilian, was sentenced by a military court without the presence of a lawyer. One of the governing military officers explained, it’s one thing to criticize with good intentions, it’s another thing entirely to question the army’s actions.
I don’t know Sanad but people speak well of him. This is one more step to the rolling back of freedom in Egypt and the defeat of the “Facebook liberals.” Egypt will probably go radical nationalist, it might go Islamist, but it isn’t seeming to go in the direction of moderate and open democracy. Free Maikel Sanad if you want to convince us otherwise.