Al Jazeera reporters given three years in jail

Egyptian court sentences three Al Jazeera TV journalists to three years in prison

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

The postponed cases of Al Jazeera journalists Mohamed Fahmy, Baher Mohamed and Peter Greste were tried in a court on Saturday in the Egyptian capital.

The court sentenced the journalists to three years in prison for operating without a press license and broadcasting material harmful to Egypt.

The three men were originally sentenced to between seven to 10 years in prison on charges, including spreading lies to help a terrorist organisation, a reference to the Muslim Brotherhood which was banned after the military coup in the country in 2013.

Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, had been released on bail in February, after over a year in jail, while Australian citizen Peter Greste was unexpectedly freed and deported on Feb. 1, after spending 400 days in prison.

Following Saturday's verdict, Fahmy and Mohamed were taken back into custody as Greste was convicted in absentia.

Judge Hassan Farid said that the defendants "are not journalists and not members of the press syndicate" and had broadcast with unlicensed equipment.

The three men denied all accusations brought against them, and their advocates claimed that their arrest was part of a wider crackdown on free speech since the military coup in 2013.

Accordingly, Al Jazeera Media Network’s Acting Director General Dr Mostefa Souag, condemned the verdict saying “Today’s verdict defies logic and common sense. Our colleagues Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy will now have to return to prison, and Peter Greste is sentenced in absentia.”

Souag also added “Today’s verdict is yet another deliberate attack on press freedom. It is a dark day for the Egyptian judiciary; rather than defend liberties and a free and fair media they have compromised their independence for political reasons.”



TRTWorld and agencies