IFJ Backs UK Protest to Demand Release of Journalists Jailed in Egypt

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has joined it UK affiliate, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), to demand an end to the intimidation of journalists and media suppression in Egypt and to call for the immediate release of all detained journalists.

Tomorrow morning, Wednesday 19 February, journalists, politicians and human rights activists will gather outside the Egyptian embassy in London to call for the release of jailed journalists in the country. The demonstration, organised by the NUJ, is being held the day before the trial of four journalists begins in Egypt. The journalists face charges that could see foreign-born journalists face up to seven years in jail, and Egyptian journalists up to 15 years. 

The Al Jazeera English journalists currently under detention are Peter Greste, Mohammed Fadel Fahmy and Baher Mohammed who have been detained by the Egyptian authorities since 29 December 2013. Their colleague Abdullah Al Shami, of Al Jazeera Arabic, has been detained since 14 August 2013 and is in the third week of a hunger-strike.

"The trial of Al Jazeera English journalists, on ludicrous allegations of damaging national security, should be halted and all journalists immediately released," said IFJ President Jim Bomelha. "This repression of all journalists in the country, who are operating under outrageous pressure and intimidation, undermines press freedom in Egypt and calls into question the government's attitude to basic human rights,"

The trial starts at a time when journalists are coming under increasing attack in Egypt. The Egypt Journalists' Syndicate (EJS) recently issued a condemnation against the interior ministry after reporters covering protests in Cairo were assaulted, their equipment seized, and even shot at with live ammunition; 19 journalists were arrested in a single day. Photographer Mohamed Fawzy remains critically injured after being shot whilst working.

According to the IFJ's report on the number of journalists and media staff killed across the globe in 2013, Egypt remains one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, with six journalists murdered in the country last year.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: "The situation facing journalists working in Egypt is dire. The arrests and brutal attacks are a deliberate attempt to silence journalists and prevent them from doing their job - giving citizens access to vital information and news."

The Egyptian authorities published a list on February 5th of 20 journalists, accusing them of aiding terrorists while working in the country. Of the 20, nine are Al Jazeera staff. Correspondent Sue Turton is one of the 20 accused and will attend the demonstration and be available for comment. 

For further details about the demonstration visit the NUJ website

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 17

The IFJ represents more than 600 000 journalists in 134 countries