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Egypt: Calls For Release Of Al-Jazeera Journalists



Reporters Without Borders has again urged the Egyptian authorities to free Al-Jazeera journalists Peter Greste, Mohamed Fadel Fahmy and Baher Mohamed and end the judicial nightmare to which they have been subjected. A court is due to begin hearing their appeal on 1 January.

The first anniversary of their arrest will be on 29 December. In June they were given sentences ranging from seven to ten years in prison on charges of disseminating false news and belonging to a “terrorist organization.” President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi alluded on 20 November to the possibility of a pardon if it serves the national interest.

“We urge President Sisi to pardon the Al-Jazeera journalists, who are not guilty of the charges brought against them and were just doing their job at the time of their arrest,” Reporters Without Borders programme director Lucie Morillon said.

“Their arbitrary conviction perfectly illustrates how the regime has been cracking down on foreign and local media personnel with real or imagined links to the Muslim Brotherhood. Journalists must not be persecuted in the name of combatting terrorism.”

In a letter published at the start of December by Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, Fahmy – who was Al-Jazeera English’s Cairo bureau chief and who has dual Canadian and Egyptian nationality – said he and his colleagues were victims of the cold war being wage between Egypt and Qatar, where Al-Jazeera is based.

He also criticized the failure of news media to provide journalists with adequate protection and said they should maintain a dialogue with the governments of countries where they send their journalists in order to prevent them from being arrested on spurious grounds.

Source: Aljazeera