Dissident blogger attacks Egypt military after release

Maikel Nabil said he was drugged before his interrogation and forced to watch other prisoners being tortured in jail.

Updated: Jan 29, 2012, 19:01 PM IST

Cairo: Egypt`s revolutionist blogger, who was
incarcerated for his staunchly critical writings against the
military, has stepped out unsoftened from prison, lashing out
at the Army in his very first appearance and recounting his 10
months behind the bars.

In his first address after being "pardoned" from his
two-year prison sentence, Maikel Nabil said he was drugged
before his interrogation and forced to watch other prisoners
being tortured during his 302 days in jail.

Nabil, the first prisoner to be incarcerated for his
opinions since the January 25 revolution, was sentenced to two
years by a military court on charges of propagating false
information and insulting the institution of military.

The charges were based mainly on a blog post he wrote on
March 7 in which he accused the military forces of being
complicit in killing protesters during the 18-day uprising
that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

On January 22, only three days ahead of the anniversary of
the January 25 revolution, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, head
of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, pardoned
1959 prisoners who had been sentenced by military courts.

Hours after his release, the Coptic activist issued a
strongly worded statement on YouTube and described Tantawi as
a "military dictator".

"This is the first time I can talk to you directly after
302 days, which was the period of my imprisonment ordered by
the SCAF," he said addressing the revolutionaries and asking
them to keep protesting against the interim military rule.

"I want everyone to know that I categorically refuse the
decision of the military dictator Mohamed Hussein Tantawi to
absolve me. I strenuously reject the word `pardon` because I
did not commit a crime to be pardoned by the leader of the
army," he said.

"I was practicing my right to express my opinion freely,
to adopt a certain belief and to promote my thoughts. I did
not commit a crime," he said.

At a press conference yesterday, Nabil talked about his
experiences since being arrested from his home on March 28
until he was freed on the eve of January 25.

"I was locked up in a dark one-and-a-half-meter prison
cell with soundproof walls and a light bulb that kept
switching on and off every minute. That lamp was meant to
affect my psychological state," Nabil told journalists.

That was when he was locked up in the military
intelligence headquarters prior to his interrogation.

Before his questioning, the 27-year-old blogger was
allegedly drugged.