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Imprisoned Egyptian blogger Maikel Nabil given 1st IFLRY Freedom Award

2/12/2011 - At the General Assembly of the International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY) in Istanbul, Turkey, Maikel Nabil was given the first IFLRY Freedom Award for his firm commitment to freedom.

Maikel Nabil Sanad (1985) has been a blogger and activist for several years in Egypt. From 2006 until recently, Maikel Nabil has used the internet to mobilize public opinion for values such as human rights, peace and democracy. He has been active in liberal organizations, and he was part of IFLRY’s delegation to the Liberal International (LI) Congress in 2009 in Cairo.

2/12/2011 - At the General Assembly of the International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY) in Istanbul, Turkey, Maikel Nabil was given the first IFLRY Freedom Award for his firm commitment to freedom.

Maikel Nabil Sanad (1985) has been a blogger and activist for several years in Egypt. From 2006 until recently, Maikel Nabil has used the internet to mobilize public opinion for values such as human rights, peace and democracy. He has been active in liberal organizations, and he was part of IFLRY’s delegation to the Liberal International (LI) Congress in 2009 in Cairo.

Maikel Nabil was arrested on 28 March 2011 in his home in Cairo, for ‘insulting’ the military through Facebook. On 10 April, he was sentenced to three years in jail by a military court, even though Maikel Nabil is a civilian. Since 23 August, Maikel Nabil is on hunger strike in protest against his continued imprisonment and solitary confinement. IFLRY president Thomas Leys states “No civilian should be tried before a military court, just like nobody should be imprisoned for peacefully expressing their opinion.”

As Maikel Nabil remains imprisoned, the award was accepted by Amr El-Bakly (Cairo Liberal Forum) on his behalf. The speakers at the award ceremony included Klaas Dijkhoff MP (VVD, Netherlands) and LI Secretary General Emil Kirjas. At the ceremony, young liberals from all over the world wrote personal supportive postcards to Maikel Nabil.

Thomas Leys adds “Maikel Nabil embodies the spirit of the non-violent struggle for freedom and democracy in Middle East and North Africa. Although the change in Egypt and the region offers the prospect for freedom and human rights, we believe the case of Maikel Nabil also calls for vigilance and continued support for democratic principles and forces in these countries.

Maikel Nabil also represents the changing nature of democratic protest, by using social media and new technology, thus underlining the need to secure digital freedoms for all. Finally, as IFLRY, we feel the role of youth as contributors to democratic change needs to be recognized. We hope this award serves as an inspiration and an acknowledgement for the work of millions of other young people working towards freedom, democracy and human rights.”

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