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Seven-Year Prison Terms for Al-Jazeera English Journalists
Three journalists from Al-Jazeera English were convicted on Monday by an Egyptian court and sentenced to seven years in prison, according to CBC News. The three were convicted on terrorism charges. The charges were filed against Mohamed Fahmy, the Egyptian-Canadian acting Cairo bureau chief; Peter Greste, Australian correspondent and Baher Mohamed, Egyptian producer.
Adel Fahmy, the brother of Mohamed Fahmy, “It’s corrupt judicial system, and this whole case has been fabricated to serve the agenda of Egypt. The foreign affairs minister and the Canadian Embassy have done a great job. I have to admit that. We give credit where it is due. But I don’t know. There should have been a higher-up pressure. There should have been more urgent pressure. Maybe they reacted too late … and the problem is now that this is the result, and I don’t know how it can be resolved or reversed.”
The trio was arrested in December during a raid on a Cairo hotel room they used as an office. The raid was a crackdown on Islamist supporters of President Mohammed Morsi. They were accused of supporting the Morsi Muslim Brotherhood, which authorities declared a terrorist group.
The trio claims that they were simply doing their jobs by covering the protests by the Brotherhood against the government, which is backed by the military.
The Canadian ambassador, David Drake, said, “The defence counsel did an excellent job in clearly establishing that there is no incriminating evidence with regard to the charges, and that there were multiple procedural shortcomings regarding the trial itself.”
Speaking in Baghdad on Monday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, said, “When I heard about that verdict today, I was so concerned about it – frankly disappointed, in it – that I immediately picked up the telephone and I talked to the foreign minister of Egypt, and I registered our serious displeasure of this kind of verdict under the circumstances of where we find ourselves today.”
Al Anstey, the managing director of Al-Jazeera English, said, “not a shred of evidence was found to support the extraordinary and false charges against them. To have detained them for 177 days is an outrage. To have sentenced them defies logic, sense, and any semblance of justice.”