Amnesty International reinforces its call for the immediate release of three Al Jazeera staff, as the men mark one year behind bars in Egypt, imprisoned for the ‘crime’ of simply doing their job.
Mohamed Fahmy, Australian journalist Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed are serving between seven and 10-year sentences for “broadcasting false news” and “supporting” the Muslim Brotherhood.
Their appeal is set for January 1 when the Court of Cassation will examine whether the court that jailed the men in June followed the correct procedures under Egyptian law.
“These three journalists have committed no crime. They have been wrongfully imprisoned for 365 days for simply doing their job. They were convicted in a trial that was widely condemned as farcical all because their reporting was seen by authorities to challenge the political narrative,” said Hannah Harborow, Amnesty International Australia Campaigns Manager.
“All three are prisoners of conscience and should be immediately and unconditionally released.
The appalling medical treatment given to Mohamed Fahmy in detention for his broken arm means he is now unlikely to ever fully recover the use of it.
Baher Mohamed missed the birth of his child. Peter Greste has written of the tiny joys now brought to him by his pen and paper and the heartening outpouring of messages of support to all three men from people around the world.
“Egypt’s criminal justice system is spiralling rapidly out of control. Courts are busy locking up government critics and political activists, while letting security forces and officials responsible for serious human rights violations walk free.
At least 16,000 people have been detained as part of a sweeping crackdown on dissent, with activists estimating the true figure is much higher.
At the same time, courts have acquitted security forces of killing detainees and thrown out criminal charges against former ruler Hosni Mubarak for conspiring to crush the “25 January Revolution”.
“The judicial system used to be one of the few bodies willing to challenge the authorities.
“Now it is simply a tool to crush anyone who challenges the authorities’.
“The Al Jazeera three have committed no crime and must be released immediately, free to spend the new year with their loved ones,” Hannah Harborow added.