Egypt: Journalists’ trial resumes
Attacks on any one who questions the actions of Egypt’s military backed government are unfortunately continuing. Notably the trial of the three Al Jazeera journalists arrested in Cairo in December 2013, resumes today. They are Peter Greste an Australian national, al-Jazeera’s Egyptian-Canadian Cairo bureau chief Mohamed Adel Fahmy and a local Egyptian producer, Baher Mohamed.
They are accused of having aided the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood organisation, which Egyptian authorities banned and declared a terrorist group last December.
In his last court appearance , Mr Greste said the allegations were “preposterous”. The truth of the matter is that they were doing no more than reporting events as they saw them in a balanced and objective way. The Egyptian government evidently is not into balance and is determined to crush independent journalism in their country
The three men share a cell in which they are locked-up for 23 hours a day. Mohamed Adel Fahmy was unfortunate enough to break his upper arm, near the shoulder socket, days before his arrest. Despite months of appeals from his family it was only on 22 March that he was sent to a hospital for scans before being returned to his prison the same day
In addition, Egyptian students Sohaib Saad Mohamed, Khaled Mohamed Abdel Raouf, Shady Abdelhamid, Ahmed Abdelazim and Anas Mohamed El Beltagy, all arrested on 31 December 2013, are also facing trial in this case. At the last hearing, on 31 March, three of the students told the judge that the security forces had beaten them during their arrest.
The TUC fully supports Amnesty International’s campaign in demanding justice for these prisoners. Specifically they urge that people write immediately:
- Calling on the Egyptian authorities to release Mohamed Fahmy, Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed immediately and unconditionally
- Urging them to ensure the five students receive a fair trial in line with international standards and are protected from torture and other ill-treatment, and drop any charges solely resulting from their peaceful exercise of freedom of expression
- Calling on them to order independent and impartial investigations into all allegations of ill-treatment and to ensure Mohamed Fahmy has access to any medical attention they may require.
For further information on this campaign, including who to write to, go to Amnesty International