Egyptians serving prison time for criticizing military

If you're wondering why many Egyptians have lost faith with their revolution -- just check out the number of people sentenced to prison by military courts. The country's military is aggressively hostile to criticism. We hear about the Canadian effort to free one outspoken critic.



Three of The Current

Mail on Northern Gateway Pipeline

It's time for your Point of View. We've been talking a lot this week about the Northern Gateway pipeline. Yesterday, we heard Canadians aren't the only ones watching the project closely. Foreign environmentalists, investors and other potential beneficiaries have a stake in the outcome. Many of you emailed with your thoughts. We read some of your letters.

If you'd like to pipe up, contact us through our website.

Egyptians serving prison time for criticizing military - Mohamed Abdelfattah

We started this segment with a clip from an interview with Egyptian blogger Maikel Nabil just before he was arrested last March ... Fairly basic criticism by Canadian standards. But Nabil's words enraged the Egyptian army. A military tribunal sentenced him to three years in prison for insulting the Military and spreading false information. The charges refer directly to a blog entry titled The People and The Army Were Never One Hand.

In protest of his sentence and his prison conditions, Nabil launched a hunger strike in August. He ended it late last month, after 130 days, after his sentence was reduced to two years and he was transferred to a prison hospital. His father says he knew what Nabil was confronting and had warned him about speaking out.

Maikel Nabil's case is far from unique. Human rights groups estimate 12,000 civilians have been tried in military courts since Hosni Mubarak was forced out in February. But Nabil's case has attracted special attention, and raised questions in the minds of many about Egypt's future.

Mohamed Abdelfatah is a fellow Egyptian journalist based in Cairo. Last year, he won the Canadian Journalists For Free Expression's International Press Freedom Award for his coverage of the revolution in Egypt. He's been following Maikel Nabil's case closely. Mohamed Abdelfattah joined us from Cairo.

Egyptians serving prison time for criticizing military - Irwin Cotler

Maikel Nabil's case has attracted attention beyond Egypt's borders, as well. Twenty Five human rights groups recently signed a petition to the UN High commissioner for human rights demanding his immediate release.

And in November, Maikel Nabil gained another formidable ally: human rights lawyer and Canadian Liberal MP Irwin Cotler. Irwin Cotler joined us from our studio in Washington D.C.

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Last Word - Whitehorse Promo

Coming up this Thursday, a special edition of The Current from Whitehorse. Anna Maria Tremonti hosts a town hall we're calling Fathers Without Fathers: Aboriginal Men In Canada. Aboriginal children are far more likely to live with just one parent, their mother, than most Canadian kids. If you happen to be in Whitehorse, please join us in the audience this evening.

And tomorrow, Anna Maria also brings us the show from Whitehorse. One of her guests will be a Game Changer whose work as a prospector is making its mark in the Yukon.

On today's Last word, we hear from Shawn Ryan -- a man some people say helped start the modern Yukon gold rush. Didn't know there was a modern rush? Well, there were 100-thousand new claims staked last year!


Other segments from today's show:

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