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Al-Jazeera sentences an 'appalling attack on press freedom': IFEX - Daily News Egypt

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Al-Jazeera sentences an ‘appalling attack on press freedom’: IFEX

Rights network calls for immediate release of journalists


Al-Jazeera news channel's Australian journalist Peter Greste (L) and his colleagues, Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fadel Fahmy (C) and Egyptian Baher Mohamed , listen to the verdict inside the defendants cage during their trial for allegedly supporting the Muslim Brotherhood on June 23, 2014 at the police institute near Cairo's Tora prison. The Egyptian court sentenced the three Al-Jazeera journalists to jail terms ranging from seven to 10 years after accusing them of aiding the blacklisted Brotherhood.  Since the army ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, the authorities have been incensed by the Qatari network's coverage of their deadly crackdown on his supporters.  (AFP PHOTO)
Al-Jazeera news channel’s Australian journalist Peter Greste (L) and his colleagues, Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fadel Fahmy (C) and Egyptian Baher Mohamed , listen to the verdict inside the defendants cage during their trial for allegedly supporting the Muslim Brotherhood on June 23, 2014 at the police institute near Cairo’s Tora prison.
(AFP PHOTO)

International rights network IFEX called 23 June’s Al-Jazeera verdict an “appalling attack on press freedom” and an “implicit threat to all media working in Egypt” in a letter sent to President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi on Monday.
The letter, signed by 99 international rights groups, strongly condemned the verdict that it said the “bizarre” and “farcical” court proceedings that lead to the verdict against Peter Greste, Baher Mohamed, and Mohamed Fahmy.
“There has not been a shred of evidence presented by the prosecution that in any way implicates the journalists in the charges of defaming Egypt and having ties to the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood,” the statement said, “Contrary to the charges the three journalists have behaved ethically and responsibly while reporting on a complex, rapidly changing political environment in Egypt.”
Among evidence presented in the trial were a music video, Sky News Arabia tourism reports, pictures of Peter Greste’s parents on vacation, and BBC podcasts.
The letter lists three steps that Al-Sisi should take “to rectify this extraordinary attack on press freedom and human rights.”
Firstly, the group calls for the immediate release of the imprisoned journalists. In the second step they urge authorities to overturn the verdict to prevent its being used as a precedent against journalists in the future. In the third step, foreign and local journalists should be “free to carry out their duties without harassment, intimidation or violence.”
Among the signatories are the Arab Network for Human Rights Information, the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and Index on Censorship.
The three Al-Jazeera journalists were each given seven year sentences, with Baher Mohamed receiving an additional three years for possession of a used bullet casing. The men have been detained since 29 December 2013.
On Wednesday, the United Nations Correspondents Association hosted an emergency meeting in defence of the journalists, attended by representatives from 19 UN missions, UN correspondents and UN staff.
“The UN Correspondents Association demands that Egypt live up to its international commitments. Freedom of expression and the right to report news is enshrined in international humanitarian law, human rights agreements and in national laws around the world,” said a letter released before the meeting.
At the meeting, Egypt’s deputy UN Ambassador Osama Mahmoud defended the Egyptian judiciary. Reuters quoted Mahmoud as saying: “The Egyptian judicial system is very well-known for providing full guarantees for the defendant.”

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https://dailyfeed.dailynewsegypt.com/2014/06/30/al-jazeera-sentences-appalling-attack-press-freedom-ifex/
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