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April 12, 2011

U.S. Should Reassess Relationship with Egyptian Military

Washington, DC – The Egyptian military authorities have displayed such an alarming disregard for human rights over the last few days that the U.S. should reassess its support for the army, said Human Rights First in a statement today. On Sunday, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces sentenced Egyptian blogger Mikael Nabil to three years in prison for his criticisms of the army. The 25 year-old activist, whose attorneys were not present for the sentencing proceedings, was charged with “insulting the military establishment” and sentenced to the maximum three years in prison. His sentence came two days after the Egyptian army stormed protestors in Tahrir Square. “These actions suggest authoritarianism could be making a comeback in Egypt," said Brian Dooley of Human Rights First. “The Egyptian military relies heavily on U.S. assistance and is a crucial link in the country’s transition to democracy.  These abuses must end immediately if Egypt is to live up to the vision of those who protested for reform. Pro-democracy activists across the Middle East are watching the U.S. closely to see if it's really on their side.  The U.S. should not fund an army that jails bloggers and attacks peaceful protests. Instead it should call for an end to the attacks on civilians and for the immediate and unconditional release of Mikail Nabil.”

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