The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has joined the world community to condemn today’s verdict by a Cairo court in the case involving journalists from Al Jazeera English and has called on Egyptian authorities to urgently intervene to free the three journalists who have been detained for simply doing their jobs.
Nairobi-based Al Jazeera English reporter, Australian Peter Greste, Al Jazeera English Cairo bureau chief, Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy, and Al Jazeera producer, Baher Mohamed, were sentenced to seven years in prison for spreading false news and supporting the banned Islamist group, the Muslim Brotherhood.
Mohamed was sentenced to a further three years in jail on a separate charge involving possession of weapons.
The three journalists have been detained since December 29 – part of that time they were held in solitary confinement.
“The verdict of the court, despite the lack of evidence and bizarre court proceedings over more than a dozen hearings, is an appalling attack on press freedom and carries an implicit threat to all media working in Egypt,” said IFJ Senior Vice President, Younes Mjahed.
“It is clear that journalists covering the complex political and social situation in Egypt must not be blamed or made responsible for incidents that occur. These journalists were doing their job, as is the case in other parts of the world."
Evidence presented to the court by the prosecution included holiday photographs of Peter Greste’s parents, a recording of popular Australian singer Gotye’s Somebody That I Used To Know; Greste’s award-winning reports from East Africa, Sky News Arabia’s tourism reports, poorly photoshopped images, and BBC podcasts.
The IFJ reiterates its call for Egypt’s authorities to immediately release the three Al Jazeera English journalist and all journalists detained for their work, stating that all journalists should be free to carry out their duties without harassment, intimidation or violence.
For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 17
The IFJ represents more than 600 000 journalists in 134 countries