A protester waves an Egyptian flag during a protest in Cairo. Almost 12,000 civilians have been brought before military tribunals since protests began in Janurary, say Human Rights Watch. Reuters

26-year-old Maikel Nabil was jailed by the Egyptian military court in April for blog posts that criticised the army's role during the anti-government protests in March. He was sentenced to three years in prison.

Mr Nabil was thought to be the first blogger jailed in Egypt since the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces assumed power after the toppling of long-time President Hosni Mubarak.

He has been on hunger strike since August 23 to protest against what he calls his "illegitimate" trial.

The case was postponed in October because a file had not arrived in time. His brother, Mark Nabil, was heavily critical of the decision at the time:

"This is a death sentence for Maikel because he said if he weren't released on 4 October he'd refuse water," he told the BBC.

"It's not our fault they're not ready, why should my brother stay in jail because someone forgot to put the file on the judge's desk."

Reporters Without Borders have said that "Egypt's first prisoner of conscience" is suffering from serious health problems due to his continued hunger strike.

Human Rights Watch says almost 12,000 civilians have been brought before military tribunals since January - more than the total number of cases during Mr Mubarak's 30 year rule. Egypt's ruling military council says it is considering whether to end the practice.