>> 16 November 2010
Egyptian refusenik arrested, will receive service exemption
Pro-Israeli pacifist spends uneasy night held by Egyptian authorities after declaring that he wouldn't serve in military
Published: 11.14.10, 08:28 / Israel News
Happy ending after nightmare. After an uneasy night, Egyptian Maikel Nabil Sanad can breath easy, at least temporarily. Sanad, a liberal activist who was recently interviewed by Ynet, hasn't hesitated to voice his opinions over the past few years, including his declaration that he would refuse to enlist in the Egyptian military.
An indeed Sanad did not present himself for his enlistment which was set for Friday three weeks ago. Then, late on Friday night, and without any advance notice, Sanad's house was raided by Egyptian intelligence agents and he himself was arrested. Just hours later his friends were already calling for his release online.
In an interview with Ynet, Sanad, a 25-year-old veterinarian, expressed opinions that are considered very unorthodox in Egypt. He declared that he was a pacifist who supported peace and was opposed to military service.
He added that he was pro-Israeli and that he refused to point a weapon at a "young Israeli, recruited into obligatory service, defending his state's right to exist." These opinions were enough for him to become a victim of a national tirade and tendentious articles in the Egyptian press.
"In the morning they took me to the recruitment manager in Cairo where I was told that I was being exempted from military service due to health issues," he said.
"I do suffer from heart problems, but that didn't stop them from enlisting me to begin with. They promised me that I would receive the official notice tomorrow, and that after it would be in my hands, I would have no problem to get a passport and leave the country. I just hope that I will receive it."
When asked whether he was happy to have achieved what he set out to do, Sanad said that "I'm happy with the results and will be even happier after I have the document. It has taken me five years to reach this point. And yet, I'm saddened by the fact that I was abducted. I committed no crime. If they would have asked me to come in for questioning – I would have done so. I respect the law."