Aliran joins over 100 groups demanding release of Al Jazeera staff

More than 100 Ifex members and other groups including Aliran have called on the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, to take immediate steps to free detained Al Jazeera English journalists and overturn their unjustified sentences.

Al Jazeera personnel Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed have been detained

Al Jazeera personnel Mohamed Fahmy, Baher Mohamed and Peter Greste have been detained

We, members and partners of Ifex – the global network defending freedom of expression – condemn the recent verdict of the Cairo court in the case involving journalists from Al Jazeera English.

Nairobi-based Al Jazeera English reporter Australian Peter Greste, the Al Jazeera English Cairo bureau chief Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy and the Al Jazeera producer Baher Mohamed have been detained since 29 December – 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.

The court proceedings have been farcical from the outset and 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. Contrary to the charges the three journalists have behaved ethically and responsibly while reporting on a complex, rapidly changing political environment in Egypt.

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.

Baher Mohamed was sentenced to an additional three years in prison for possession of ammunition, referring to a spent bullet casing that he had found on the ground during a protest.

Evidence against Fahmy, Greste, and Mohamed included a clearly doctored photograph depicting Fahmy with former Egyptian military chief Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, fabricated reports by “technical experts” and run of the mill reporting on sexual assaults in Tahrir Square.

We, the undersigned call, on President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to take immediate steps to rectify this extraordinary attack on press freedom and human rights:

  • We call on President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Egyptian authorities to immediately release the three Al Jazeera English journalist and all journalists detained for their journalism
  • We urge the Egyptian government to overturn the verdict so that it is not a precedent to be used against other journalists in the future
  • We urge that both local and foreign journalists working in Egypt be free to carry out their duties without harassment, intimidation or violence

Signed,

Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance
ActiveWatch – Media Monitoring Agency
Afghanistan Journalists Center
Albanian Media Institute
Arabic Network for Human Rights Information
ARTICLE 19
Association for Civil Rights
Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression
Association of Caribbean Media Workers
Bahrain Center for Human Rights
Cambodian Center for Human Rights
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility
Centre for Independent Journalism – Malaysia
Committee to Protect Journalists
Federation of Nepali Journalists
Foundation for Press Freedom – FLIP
Freedom Forum
Hong Kong Journalists Association
Independent Journalism Center – Moldova
Index on Censorship
Initiative for Freedom of Expression – Turkey
Instituto Prensa y Sociedad de Venezuela
International Federation of Journalists
International Publishers Association
Journaliste en danger
Journalists’ Trade Union
Media Institute of Southern Africa
Media Watch
National Union of Somali Journalists
Norwegian PEN
Observatorio Latinoamericano para la Libertad de Expresión – OLA
Pakistan Press Foundation
PEN American Center
PEN Canada
PEN International
Reporters Without Borders
Southeast Asian Press Alliance
West African Journalists Association
World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters – AMARC
World Press Freedom Committee
Aliran, Malaysia
Amnesty International Australia
Asosiasaun Jornalista Timor Lorosa’e-AJTL
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Bangladesh Manobadhikar Sangbadik Forum (BMSF)
Black Stump Media
Brihanmumbai Union of Journalists
Brisbane Times
Building and Wood Workers International
Cambodian Association for the Protection of Journalists
Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ)
Canadian Ethnic Media Association (CEMA)
Centre for Media Research – Nepal (CMR – Nepal)
Choice
Community Newspaper Group in Western Australia
Crunch Media, Sydney, Australia
The Globe and Mail
Grupo de los Cien, Mexico
Indian Journalists Union
INFORM Human Rights Documentation centre, Sri Lanka
Karen News
Alan Kennedy, Australia
The Media Foundation, India
Mohamed Taha,
Journalist, Western Sydney Bureau – ABC News
National Union of Journalists – Nepal
Neha Dixit, Independent Journalist, South Asia
Nepal Press Union
Nepal Sports Journalists Forum
Network of Women in Media, India
New Zealand Amalgamated Engineering, Printing & Manufacturing Union Inc. (EPMU)
New Zealand Council of Trade Unions
Next Media Trade Union Hong Kong
NOW Magazine
NUJ Nepal
Online Journalists Association, Nepal
Pakistan Federation of Journalists
Partners for Law in Development
PEN Flanders
PEN Melbourne
PEN Quebec
PEN South Africa
PEN USA
Photojournalists Club, Nepal
Point of View, Mumbai
Radio 2GB, Sydney
Rule of Law Institute of Australia
Seven Network (Operations) Limited
Sky News Australia
Sky News New Zealand
South Asian Free Media Association Sri Lanka Chapter
South Asian Women in Media Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association (SLWJA)
Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram)
SRC-CBC News
Swedish PEN
Sydney PEN Centre
thehoot.org, India
The Tribe Press Agency
Toronto Star
The Walkley Foundation
Amanda Wilson Communications

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