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Is Egypt really free?


Egyptians may have successfully ousted Hosni Mubarak, but has one dictator merely been replaced with another? While President Obama has been touting the country's new democracy, Glenn was was warning that Mubarak's exit was a precursor to very bad things. Was Glenn right?

The sentencing of a blogger to jail for being critical of Egypt's army command seems to suggest he was. The arrest of Maikel Nabil has drawn numerous objections from free speech activists who say the country's military council is trampling individual rights.

As we reported, the 26-year-old blogger was charged with insulting the military establishment and spreading false information. Nabil had posted photographs and video clips of protesters he said had been beaten by military police. As a result, he now faces three years in prison -- the worst punishment for free speech in years.

So is post-Mubarak Egypt serious about maintaining democratic rights? Reporters Without Borders' secretary general Jean Francois Julliard says the Egyptian military's methods "do not seem to have evolved since Hosni Mubarak's fall."

"A civilian should not be tried by a military court. This is not the way things are done in the democratic society to which Egyptians aspire," he said.

"Until now the revolution was achieved by getting rid of the dictator (Mubarak)," Nabil wrote, "but dictatorship is still present."

Although the army denies any wrongdoing and enjoys broad popular support, Human Rights Watch claims that news, pictures and press releases concerning Egypt armed forces must be vetted by military intelligence before publication.

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