الخميس , مايو 20 2021

Reporters protest over Egypt rulings

Juris Greste

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Father Juris Greste: “We are devastated, shocked and dismayed at this finding”

Hundreds of journalists are due to gather in London to protest against the seven-year jail terms given to three al-Jazeera journalists in Egypt.

On Monday a court in Cairo found Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed guilty of spreading false news.

The trio had denied the charges and are expected to appeal.

The father of Peter Greste – who is Australian – told reporters in Brisbane that the family was “devastated” and “shocked” by the verdict.

“This is a very dark time, not only for our family but for journalism generally,” Juris Greste said, describing the ruling as a “slap in the face” to “all fair-minded people around the world”.

“Journalism is not a crime, or you should all be behind bars,” he added.

But Mr Greste’s parents were reluctant to criticise the Egyptian judicial system, reports the BBC’s Jon Donnison in Sydney, aware that might hinder the ongoing diplomatic efforts to put pressure on the Egyptian government.

Hopes are now pinned on the possibility of a pardon from Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, our correspondent says.

‘Vindictive’

BBC staff will be joined by colleagues from other news organisations to hold a one minute silent protest outside New Broadcasting House in London.

The protest will take place at 09:41 BST (08:41 GMT), the time of Monday’s sentencing.

Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed (L-R) listen to the ruling in court in Cairo - 23 June 2014The three al-Jazeera journalists were accused of supporting Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood

Peter Greste poses for a photograph while reporting for al-Jazeera in the Democratic Republic of Congo - 7 August 2013Peter Greste, a former BBC reporter, is been one of Australia’s most high-profile foreign correspondents

The jail terms handed out to the three journalists accused of supporting Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood led to an international outcry.

The White House said that jailing journalists because their reporting did not fit the government “narrative” was “a blow to democratic progress in Egypt”.

BBC Director of News James Harding said the BBC, alongside other news organisations, would be submitting a letter to the Egyptian president asking him to address “this injustice”.

The BBC’s Bethany Bell in Cairo says that while the case has been condemned around the world, it has been presented differently by the Egyptian media.



James Harding

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The BBC’s James Harding: “The whole judicial process here is beginning to look like an act of intimidation”

Al-Jazeera, which is based in Qatar, was banned from operating inside Egypt after being accused of broadcasting reports sympathetic to former President Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Jazeera has consistently denied the allegations.

Human rights group Amnesty said the trial was a “vindictive farce” and part of the “ongoing row” between Egypt and Qatar, which backs the Muslim Brotherhood.

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Al-Jazeera trial

Mohammed Fahmy, Baher Mohamed, Peter Greste

  • Defendants included al-Jazeera’s Cairo bureau chief, Mohamed Fahmy, who is Canadian-Egyptian, Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed and Australian correspondent Peter Greste
  • They denied charges of spreading false news and supporting the Muslim Brotherhood
  • The three men were seized in a raid at a Cairo hotel on 29 December and have been held at Cairo’s Tora prison
  • The court tried a total of 20 people, including nine al-Jazeera employees

Who are the al-Jazeera journalists on trial in Egypt?

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Eleven defendants tried in absentia, including three foreign journalists, received 10-year sentences. Two of the journalists convicted in absentia are British.

In a statement, al-Jazeera English’s managing director Al Anstey said the sentence “defies logic, sense, and any semblance of justice”.

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