Three Al Jazeera journalists were sentenced today to seven-year and ten-year imprisonment on the counts aiding terrorists, doctoring footage and endangering Egypt’s national security by spreading false news and supporting Egypts Muslim Brotherhood. Former President Morsis movement was banned in September 2013 by a ruling covering all the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood organization, the groups emerging from it, its associations, and any institution that branches from it or follows the group or receives financial support from it.
Australian Peter Greste and British Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed were judged alongside other journalists who were tried in absentia, including Sue Turton and Dominic Kane, and students with alleged links to Islamist protests. Monitors cast doubt on the trial as the Prosecution evidence appeared too weak to convict any of the defendants. “Technically, I don’t see how a court can convict any of the defendants based on the evidence we have seen,” said Mohamed Lotfy, executive director of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF), who has monitored the trial on behalf of Amnesty. “If they are convicted, it means that you are not allowed to hold any views that the government does not want you to believe and that would be a complete attack on the freedom of expression.” Continue reading