CAIRO — An Egyptian military tribunal convicted a blogger of insulting the army and sentenced him to three years in prison, further raising activists' fears that the army is against greater freedom of expression and political reform.
The military court on Sunday issued the sentence against Maikel Nabil Sanad, 26, who carried reports of abuses by the military on his blog and accused it of still being loyal to ousted President Hosni Mubarak. The sentence was passed without the presence of his lawyers, according to a statement by human rights groups.
It was the first trial of a blogger by Egypt's military rulers, who took charge of the country after Mubarak was ousted Feb. 11 after an 18-day popular uprising.
Rights lawyers say the sentence could set a precedent for anyone seeking to expose wrongdoing or abuses by the military.
In another development, the Justice Ministry moved forward in its corruption investigation of former regime stalwarts, announcing the 15-day detention of Safwat el-Sherif, who served as Mubarak's powerful information minister. Over the past week, former Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif and the president's chief of staff, Zakariya Azmi, were also detained in corruption investigations.
CRITICISM OF SYRIA: International pressure mounted on Syria's President Bashar Assad, with the United States, France, Germany, Britain and the United Nations denouncing a deadly crackdown against a popular uprising. Security forces killed a student Monday during a protest at Damascus University.