Egypt Journalists' Imprisonment Sparks International Outrage

Australian journalist Peter Greste (L) and Canadian-Egyptian journalist Mohammed Fahmy (C) stand inside the court`s cage during a trial session forspreading false information, in Cairo, Egypt, 23 June 2014. Photo by EPA/BGNES

The international community has expressed its deep concerns with Monday’s verdicts of the Egyptian court, which handed lengthy jail sentences to 3 Al-Jazeera journalists.

Two journalists, one of them Australian, were sentenced to 7 years in prison for “spreading false news” and “supporting the Muslim Brotherhood” in covering last summer’s events in Cairo, which led to the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi. Another man, and Egyptian producer, was sentenced to 10 years.

“The Secretary-General is deeply concerned by recent court decisions in Egypt, particularly the death sentences for 183 people and the sentencing journalists from Al Jazeera to lengthy jail terms, proceedings that clearly appear not to meet the basic fair trial standards”, Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said, quoted by Euronews.

Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has vowed to use various diplomatic channels to put pressure on the Egyptian government, but rules out the option of sanctions for the time being, the BBC reported.

The UK, Netherlands, and Australia have summoned the Egyptian ambassadors to shed further light on the trials. US Secretary of State John Kerry has referred to the decisions as “chilling and draconian”.

Kerry met with Egypt’s newly elected President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi in Cairo on Sunday, a day before the sentences were pronounced.

Meanwhile, hundreds of journalists gathered in front of the BBC in London to hold a silent protest, expressing solidarity with their former colleague Peter Greste, who is one of Australia’s most high-profile foreign correspondents.

Al-Jazeera has been banned from reporting inside Egypt, accused of being pro-Morsi and the Muslim...

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