The Committee to Protect Journalists today condemned Egypt for sentencing three Al-Jazeera journalists (an Australian, an Egyptian and a Canadian-Egyptian) to prison on trumped up terrorism charges. Jail-time runs from seven to ten years.
Prosecutors have charged the journalists with backing the Muslim Brotherhood, which the government declared a terror organization, and fabricating footage to hurt the reputation of security forces.
“These convictions are shocking, and an extremely disturbing sign for the future of the Egyptian press," said Sherif Mansour, CPJ'S Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator. He demanded their immediate release and an overturn of the conviction upon appeal.
Amnesty International dismissed the five-month trial as a “sham” and called the jail time “a dark day for media freedom in Egypt."
Egypt has jailed 14 journos, including two English and a Dutch Al-Jazeera staffer, since former president Mohamed Morsi was ousted in July.
CPJ is calling on newly elected leader president Abdel-Fattah ed-Sisi to do whatever he can to free the prisoners.
Al-Jazeera ran a full-page ad (pictured) in the June 22 New York Times, featured a largely blank page with the line, "The is what happens when you silence journalists."
It maintains the site aljazeera.com/indepth/spotlight/freeajstaff/ for updates on its journalists and activity in Egypt.