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Al-Jazeera journalists sentenced to seven years in prison in Egypt

Al-Jazeera journalists sentenced to seven years in prison in Egypt
epaselect EGYPT JOURNALISTS TRIAL
Detained journalists appear in court several weeks ago.

Two Al-Jazeera journalists detained in the case known as the “Marriott Cell” have been sentenced to seven years in maximum security prison. A third journalist has been sentenced to 10 years.

The two defendants, Australian Journalist Peter Greste and Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, sentenced to seven years in prison were detained on December 29 at the Marriott in Cairo and had been accused of defaming Egypt and spreading false news that harms the nation’s interests.

The third journalist, Baher Mohamed, was detained a day later and has been sentenced to 10 years in prison by the criminal court. According to lawyers, Baher Mohamed received an extra three years for possession of a spent bullet casing.

Meanwhile, eleven defendants tried in absentia, including Dutch journalist Rena Netjes, were sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The journalists had also been accused of paying 16 suspected Muslim Brotherhood members who were charged with belonging to a terrorist organization.

International outcry

Detained Al-Jazeera journalists appear in court earlier this month Credit: Amir Makar
Detained Al-Jazeera journalists appear in court earlier this month Credit: Amir Makar

During the trial, which consisted of 12 court appearances over six months, prosecutors had demanded the maximum penalty of 15 years.

Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop condemned the verdict less than an hour after it was released.

“The Egyptian government’s response has to this day been that the judiciary is an independent process…in Australia we respect that, but we are shocked,” said the Foreign Minister in a press conference, adding that the Australian government will contact Egyptian authorities to explore avenues for ‘intervention.’

A day before the trial, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott appealed to Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi for the release of Peter Greste.

“I think he understands that this would be a PR coup for the new government if Peter Greste is not dealt with severely,” stated Prime Minister Abbott following his conversation with President Sisi.

Meanwhile, during his surprise visit to Cairo on Sunday, US Secretary of State John Kerry urged Egypt’s President to uphold press freedom.

“I emphasized our strong support for upholding the universal rights and freedoms of all Egyptians, including freedom of expression,” stated the Secretary of State during a joint press-conference with Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.

Joining the calls of international dignitaries, multiple non-governmental organizations, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, called for the urgent release of all detained journalists.

Across the globe, journalists had also campaigned for the release of their colleagues in Cairo. Demonstrations in solidarity with the detained journalists had been held in Sydney, Paris, London, New York, Berlin, Beirut, Ankara and other cities.

In a statement following the verdict, Al-Jazeera’s Acting Director-General Mostefa Souag declared “Al-Jazeera is outraged, very angry and very shocked.”

The sentences of the journalists are expected to be appealed by the defendants and their lawyers.

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  • Kimberly Russell

    I, like some of you, was witness to the false reporting of Al-Jazerra. It actually was a kind of a joke in our house. If you want to see what’s NOT going on in Egypt, turn on AJ. Throughout history when in turmoil, countries do exactly the same thing that Egypt is doing now. If you don’t know your history, check out Eugene V. Debs, who made an anti-war speech and was arrested under the Espionage Act of 1917. He was convicted, sentenced to serve ten years in prison, but President Warren G. Harding commuted his sentence on December 25, 1921. The Espionage Act and Sedation Act of 1918 both allowed for arrest and imprisonment of anyone- journalist or not- that spoke out again the war efforts of the US during WWI. Don’t tell me that it was almost 100 years and we have come a long way since then, that’s BS. It’s still the same principal. I love those that comment and didn’t live in the country or have never lived in the country. Idiots that just say, “Oh the poor journalists just doing their job, reporting the real news.” Sorry to say, but you’re not living in the real world! Anyone that lived through it will tell you AJ journalists incited distention and created chaos in front of the world’s eyes for their own profit and political benefit. It really angers me that people, even Jon Stewart make such rash comments without having any idea of what the hell they are talking about!

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  • mido

    good, i accept what the court did, coz they were hidding in mariot hotel and working without a license, even the egyptian visa to enter egypt was touristic and not as a journalst.. chapeau to put them in prison… we accept it .. 100%

  • Bystanding Witness

    Isn’t it amazing? There you have journalists, caught without licenses and/or proper paperwork, meeting with a known terrorist group (which is relentlessly and openly supported throughout by AJ Arabic up until incl. now!) … plus a number of other breaches of law … yet when convicted accordingly the whole world cries “foul!!!”. Why doesn’t this surprise me?! After all the very same countries who cry now did fully support the Muslim Brothers until just a few months ago! Honi soit qui mal y pense …

    Why is it that every “Tom, Dick and Harry” feels he/she has the right to meddle in the internal affairs of a sovereign country? What would the reaction be if Egypt would do the same to them and demand from their governments interference in the judicial procedure? Why is that the very same Governments who think that they should have a say in the legal procedures of Egypt … don’t even bat an eyelash when Israel arrests children or kidnaps a kid as young a six years old? Why oh why does everyone display such “courage” …???

    And where’s the outrage when journalists get shot by the IDF although clearly marked with PRESS on their front and back? And why is it … oh’ people, get a life and start being serious, will you? Go vomit your hate somewhere else.

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  • TangoTerminator

    If you are not from Egypt or the middle east region, but are born in the western world stay away from there. They are fundamentally fucked up and corrupt beyond repair. If you do go there, expect to be thrown in prison or beheaded at the minimum. This is a lesson that people are not learning.

    All of those countries around there need to learn the hard way about what happens when you don’t play ball with the west. We need to completely disconnect from them and then they need to “earn” the “privilege” to be our partners. So far I see absolutely no reason why we should be friends with such a messed up country/countries.

    • Bystanding Witness

      Thank you for your elaborate and succinct comment! You and your mindset are an outstanding example why one should completely isolate the “white supremacists” and why Egypt and the rest of the (oil rich) countries in the ME should go about their own business and disregard the highly corrupted and self-serving so-called Western countries and their burpings.
      Once you’ve cleaned up the mess in your own country – e.g. corruption, catering all laws to the military-industrial complex, denying basic human rights to groups of people who are not useful to the government’s politics, marginalising women, throwing kids in jail, excecuting mentally challenged people, etc. – then you might come back and ask if you’re allowed to be silently sitting among Egyptian people. Maybe they might even say yes as they are very generous and soft hearted.
      Incidentially – isn’t America the country which went as far as to bombard Al Jazeera offices? And why is it that AJ was forbidden from broadcasting in the US until very recently … that is … after they complied with certain “demands”? Clean up your own house(s) before you point fingers at others. Remember: in pointing a finger at others – three always point back at you.

      • TangoTerminator

        Firstly, I am not American, so put your 3 fingers away. I am Australian, and you know what? We have had about 150 years to get where we are. Egypt has had around 4-5000 years. I would say that if their way of doing things has got them to this standard, then it is WRONG.

        Secondly, you don’t have a single god damn leg to stand on when you talk about corruption, women’s rights, abuse of children, government policy, democracy, human rights, executions, etc when it comes to the “problem nations” aka. Middle east. If the western world is so bad, why is everyone trying to come here? Riddle me that one!

        And really, I don’t care what America does, because they keep the world safe from fanatical idiot such as yourself. If it takes a few stings to get rid of the nest, well its a price everyone is willing to pay. And who cares if the videos were real or not! Media all over the world is bullshit 9 times out of 10.

        And so with your twisted, mentally deranged way of thinking, how does another nations problems have a single thing to do with the imprisonment of 3 men for filming something and putting it on television in Egypt? The answer is it doesn’t.

        And you also believe we don’t have the right to tell Egypt to politely ‘get &*%$#’? Well we do, and if they keep it up, we will. All we need is the electric car to go mainstream, and then what good is the goddamn oil! We don’t want their oil. We want them to behave themselves.

        • Yahia Mahmoud

          Every time I read an extremely eccentric contribution to a discussion I
          believe more in the infinite ignorance and stupidity of the human race. As your
          name discloses you are the perfect example of that kind of stupidity and ignorance.
          Whether you can conceive this or not you should learn that the entire existence
          of world’s harmony is depending on every and each individual. The bitter fact
          is that, the western part has been profiting on the rest of the world, especially
          the third world for many years. You owe the largest part of your materialistic
          wellbeing to the poor countries. But as your words demonstrate you comprehend
          nothing of their culture and history. The only fucked up mind in this context are
          minds like yours.

        • Bystanding Witness

          Your statement “And really, I don’t care what America does, because they keep the world safe from fanatical idiot such as yourself.” just shows your utter ignorance – as if this was still necessary … It is thanks to the US and its poodles aka allies that the world is as unstable as it can possibly be. The next stage would be an all out WWIII.
          To further demonstrate your vast “knowledge” you claim that all you need is the electric car to go mainstrem and then you don’t need the oil (nations) anymore. Well … you know … 1) energy is not only about running a car and 2) the oil and gas industry is not only about the energy. There are a Zillion of other things that come out of oil and gas. Petrochemical Industry by way of example is one of those, the products of which form a huge part of your daily life. But I guess that’s beyond your limited horizon … Aussie …
          And once you accept that other nations mingle in your internal affairs – other than the US – then you may come back. Until then … go take care of your corrupt politicians who are willing to allow the Indian tycoon to destroy the Great Barrier Reef for nothing than profit. I just hope that other banks follow the lead of HSBC and the Deutsche Bank and refuse to give him (and the AUS Gov) loans to commit this environment crime. Clean up your acts before you try to lecture other countries!

          • TangoTerminator

            Pfft please. So apparently we are profiteering from the poor nations. And how is that exactly? By doing trade with them? Enforcing better working conditions in the factories that we buy from off shore, and by donating hundreds of millions of OUR tax money to your messed up countries. And then you have the balls to say that your shit fight messes are our fault. You people have no clue about how the world actually is, nor the amount of effort that goes into stopping your countries from destabilising the whole world. But lets get back to the point.

            YOU DO NOT ALLOW FREE MEDIA! SHAME ON YOU!
            The only reason a country stops any media is because they are hiding something bad. So what are you hiding? Regardless of whether it is lies or truth, if a journalist wants to publish it, then they should be allowed.

            And lastly, to that guy Yahia Mahmoud. You are a moron. Your comment adds nothing but personal attacks, yet you talk about harmony and people getting along. You are a sore loser.

          • Bystanding Witness

            Well – Terminator … maybe you should bother yourself and start reading up a bit on the energy deals and trade “agreements” in general which are shoved down the throats of those nations who can simply not stand up to the mighty “West” and its cohorts? Helps immensely if one has at least a bit of a clue.

            As for who’s destabilising the world … I thought it’s meantime mainstream and common knowledge; but it seems to me that it has not yet reached the outbacks of Australia …

            As for the free media: see – the advantage of living in countries with known censored media is that one seeks the truth in reading authors of different schools and ideology and does its best to find the connecting pieces and solid evidence. This in stark opposition to the “guaranteed” and assumed freedom of press in your country as well as in the Western countries. There people get lazy and believe what they read in the first paper. It’s much more convenient than to torture the little grey masses which people normally have in their skull. As I always say: it would be nice if people start thinking for themselves again rather than just spouting what is fed to them by their mass/main media who usually walk in lockstep these days.

            Yes, I agree, journalists should be allowed to publish what they want and see fit. If this is the case – why then are so many articles especially about the middle east not allowed to see the light of the day? Why did a certain lobby go into frantic high gear at the beginning of this year up to the PM of your country when a certain documentary was to be aired on one of your TV channel ABC? WHY? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WsrVXWBiTfA “The real Israeli occupation against Palestinians” or the other one named “Children in Chains” at http://vimeo.com/87946740? Where’s the “Freedom of Press” in all this??? C’mon … get real or are you truly that gullible and naive?

            But even … this doesn’t give jounalists the right to set themselves clearly above the law and ignore all the conditions set. The law is the law and if one doesn’t respect it one has to face the consequences and take responsibility for ones own doings. Simple, eh? Or do you believe in the system of “Animal Farm”?

            BTW – as it seems to matter to you … maybe I should tell you that Egypt is my chosen country of residence at the moment; I’m European.

          • TangoTerminator

            I am not sure I can have a civilised conversation with you if you seriously believe that if the government chooses what the media get to present, then it makes your viewing ‘easier’ because you don’t have to filter through the other news. Since we are throwing around George Orwell, I refer you to the novel George Orwell’s “1984”. I think it nicely outlines the world you are looking for. Your view of the world is disturbing to say the least. If the government censors the media, would it not stand to reason that they also censor the books too. The only thing that is censored here is suicides, because there are studies that show it makes people that are suicidal copy it.

            And how you have managed to drag the Israeli agenda into this argument I will never know. But it does highlight a point I was trying to make. The media are driven by ratings in Australia. If it doesn’t draw a crowd, it wont make the news. So you cant protest to get a video about some kids in Palestine shown on the television here, because we don’t want to watch it. That’s what youtube is for. It may work where you are from, but those kinds of shenanigans don’t work here!

            And that we are starting world war 3. Ludicrous. It would take a thousand lifetimes of wars to ‘stop’ the middle eastern countries from fighting between each other in their religious wars.

            The difference in what someone that has censored media in their country can know versus someone without is vast. You are very limited it what you can know. Like how you think we need oil from you guys to make our plastics and stuff like that. Look up shale oil discovery in South Australia. We have our own now 😉

          • Bystanding Witness

            Well – Terminator – it looks like you either willfully “misunderstand” what I’m writiing or you truly lack the ability to comprehend. How you can take what I’ve said and turn it into “I am not sure I can have a civilised conversation with you if you seriously believe that if the government chooses what the media get to present, then it makes your viewing ‘easier’ because you don’t have to filter through the other news.” such a statement is beyond me!
            As for the censored media in general … who on earth needs to read/listen to state’s media in today’s internet time?! You’re argument just don’t fly – none of them including shale oil. I’d stay away from that as it just show how superficial you’re in everything. You still seem to buy the propaganda and moreso seem to believe that fuel and plastic “and stuff like that” is all what’s based on oil. Well then …
            And bt – ABC did show the documentary DESPITE all the lobbying and temper tantrums thrown by the lobby. Goes to show that some media still have the back bone it takes to show true news.
            Be happy in your little nutshell – hope the awakening will not be too rude as it will come one day without failure.

          • TangoTerminator

            Oh my god! You are mentally ill for sure! I hope you enjoy the rest of your controlled, censored life. I am going to continue enjoying things you will not, like the right to decide what is important.

            Your reasoning is that because you are too lazy to change the channel, it should be removed altogether. Or that if its accessible on the internet, its OK to ban or censor it on television. The only thing that springs to mind currently is ignorant dumbass.

            What you are saying makes you sound like you are promoting censored media(Which you are) and that the internet is enough. Well smart-ass, they censor the internet too. Very heavily at that. Many countries don’t have access to youtube or facebook. To say I am misconstruing or twisting your already twisted words is laughable.

            And about the oil, I am merely stating that if all your oil disappeared we would be fine. There’s plenty more around here so get off your high horse.

            About the ABC. I don’t even know what that video is, or why it is so important, and this is the first I have heard about any petition/lobby for it to get airtime and nor do I care what it was about. Because it is not relevant to me.

            Go get educated Mr. Apartheid, you are dangerously ignorant of how the world works.

    • Yahia Mahmoud

      Every time I read an extremely eccentric contribution to a discussion I
      believe more in the infinite ignorance and stupidity of the human race. As your
      name discloses you are the perfect example of that kind of stupidity and ignorance.
      Whether you can conceive this or not you should learn that the entire existence
      of world’s harmony is depending on every and each individual. The bitter fact
      is that, the western part has been profiting on the rest of the world, especially
      the third world for many years. You owe the largest part of your materialistic
      wellbeing to the poor countries. But as your words demonstrate you comprehend
      nothing of their culture and history. The only fucked up mind in this context are
      minds like yours.

  • Gerald.Wright

    Why would they fake news when all they had to do was film on the streets,its obvious by other sentences handed out that the judges are corrupted by the government or just plain bias,Egyptian law has always been about politics not justice why would it change now.

    • Guest

      Watch the video below. They wanted to show Egypt as a country in civil war. They faked egyptians dying on the street, getting shot by security forces. Al Jazeera is owned by Qatar who’s a big supporter of the muslim brotherhood. If you would just research this instead of being a sheep you would be happy they got seven years.

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  • lbmouse

    No surprise here. What do expect from a corrupt judicial system in a corrupt government in a corrupt country in a corrupt part of the world? It is truly a shame that all the wonderful archeological sites are wasted on such a sh!thole.

  • klarth1234 .

    When both the Australian and American governments have publicly denounced Julian Assange, Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden for reporting real news they don’t really have a leg to stand on when advising other countries to not arrest journalists.

    • GetemMa

      None of those 3 people are journalist and all 3 of them knew they were violating the law. These journalists were just doing their jobs and violated made up laws. Your comparison is shit. I love how morons will stand up for thugs just to point out how hypocritical the American government is.

      • fuck op

        Edward Snowden swore an oath to protect the US constitution from enemies foreign and domestic. The NSA is a domestic threat to our constitutional rights. You are an assclown.

        • Danny Mac

          But hes still not a journalist which is the main point in this sentencing. So, Edward Snowden has nothing to do with Egypt. Go away you fucking douche canoe.

          • Minymina

            So if he was a journalists he wouldn’t be imprisoned but because thats not his job he should? By that logic you’re saying Journalism is above the law and requires special treatment.

      • Guest

        You’re such a sheep. The Al Jazeera journalists broadcasted false news and staged protests.

        Julian Assange, Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden are the real journalists.

    • Baron Von Data-tron

      Everyone in the world knows of this Snowden farce. It has no relevace to what is happening in Eqypt. Escuseing corrouption in your own country by defaming annother country , is a shield I have witnessed from many Americans use. It is no less of a shamefull excuse when used by an Eqyiption patriot.

  • lorien

    i would have given them more and treat them as any other criminal which is enticing people to murder. this is what they were doing in egypt: enticing more violence and transmitting false information to the world about the status of egypt. this is to be considered high treason and spying. al jazeera was aware of their actions and supported by all means their actions.
    there are plenty of evidences of their dirty actions:
    – stealing a car from the egyptian national tv channel for transmitting;
    – airing a false protest of muslim brotherhood (remember nobody was in the streets and there are many witnesses and videos to prove this)
    – pretending that the army and the police were shooting to the nonexistent muslim brotherhood protesters;
    – pretending that the army and the police were not only attacking the nonexistent protest but also the journalists present at the scene.
    for all these would be more than enough to stay 25 years in a jail with high security in america or europe.
    so whomever supports these people which have no dignity, but call themselves journalists, are simply ignorants.
    remember: not knowing is not a sin, but ignoring it is a sin….

    • Nassim14

      Good luck with the glorious shining days of freedom and democracy under musheer al-Sisy. You say “nonexistent protest”, perhaps you live in a different planet? Talking of dignity here.

      • lorien

        You are talking to a live witness of everything is happening in Egypt for years. I am a foreigner living in Egypt for many years and i do not close the eyes to the truth. This doesn’t make me a supporter of anybody, but just a supporter of the truth. so keep your pathetic comments and thoughts to yourself, as i do not tolerate stupidity.

  • AgnosticEgyptian

    Pretty disgusting ruling, this whole thing has been a farce from the very beginning. Shame on Egypt.

    • Guest

      Try actually watching Al-Jazeera and then say that.

      • Guest

        @disqus_Bw0fY7lJKx:disqus Not if that news is false and endangers Egypt’s national security.

  • Guest

    Video proof of why Al Jazeera journalists got off easy.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOtgjrPmJtY

    • Guest

      @disqus_Bw0fY7lJKx:disqus They were photographing staged protests. The images ended up all over the news suggesting that Egypt was in a civil war and that security forces are to blame.

  • Rasmus

    Wow. It is incredible that in 2014 these type of mock trials can still take place.
    I always dreamed of bringing my family to Egypt and see the wonderful art and culture of Egypt but this corrupted legal system makes it impossible for me or anybody to visit as a tourist.

    • Guest

      Dont comment unless you know whats happening. Search up “fake Muslim brotherhood protest in egypt” and you’ll see why these so called journalists got arrested.

      • Abdulrahman Osama

        It is NOT a fake one. this was a short movie made by a group of young fellows to SHOW turds like you what it is like to be in their shoes! to be a true rebel, freakin turd!

        • Guest

          Make accuses all you want but this was a fake pollywood protest. Al Jazeera was involved and they should suffer the consequences.

    • Abdulrahman Osama

      You can not jut call it corrupted because the sentence doesn’t appeal to you, however I understand that 7 to 10 in a maximum security prison sounds very harsh, but Al Jazeera has contributed in a lot of destruction in Egypt.

      • M Cats

        by reporting the news? Yea. Ok.

        • Guest

          They were reporting false news and broadcasting staged protests.

          • Mike

            I doubt it was these guys, but there were videos of bloody people, some looked dead, protesting, but someone was recording the whole time and they were setting it up like “ojay, you ready? start screaming” Again, not sure if it is the same thing, but that DID happen. It is available at the public’s disposal, people just never really look.

          • Terra Mikael

            How does one stage a fake protest exactly? Do the same thing protesters do, but not really mean it?

            That’s quite possibly the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

          • Bystanding Witness

            Before you call someone “dumb” you should maybe get an idea what’s really going on? For instance (and no hearsay as I was myself in that mess): going out for dinner in 6th of Oct City we got into a messy build-up of cars and luckily could still manoever around it. The first row of cars (some 6 if them) had the yellow flag with the 4 fingers which were blocking the 4 lane street. The rest of the pile-up were ordinary Caireens who wanted to go somewhere – mixed with here and there some guys with the flags – and where angrily shouting at the MBs. The very next morning we saw exactly this scene on AJ Arabic telling its viewers about a big and angry demonstration by “hundreds of supporters of the MB”. That’s just one of the many incidents which I witnessed myself.
            Maybe you can also remember the time when the seemingly dead MB kicked away with his foot a paramedic who wanted to show his wounds under a bloody t-shirt … only that there was nothing under it except healthy flesh? After kicking the paramedic the guy played “dead” again. And so on and so forth … get real, will you?

          • Terra Mikael

            Big deal. Obviously there was a protest, you say it stopped traffic yourself. What kind of person would hang out inside of a protest full of angry half-wits rather than just wait out the traffic in your car?

      • Moderate This is a Moron

        They have only reported the news and what is actually happening. This is trying to put blame on the wrong people. Not very smart. It is corrupt because this government is putting people in prison for simply shedding light on things that are actually happening.

        Maybe someone should write this in crayon for you to understand.

        • Guest

          You’re dumb if you think they were reporting the news. Look up “fake egyptian protests” and you’ll see why these so called journalists got arrested.

        • Hend

          They reported fake news, including showing Syria as Egypt, that itself can cause distress to the public who live outside of Egypt. They got the punishment they deserve.

      • Andrew Sprague

        It is called a fair and due process trial. Are your really telling me that 14 JOURNALISTS! 14!!!!!! Were involved? From many different countries? I am an American I am for the Military Junta I am against the Muslim Brotherhood and any Islamic Political Entity for that matter. But this is obviously a reactionary action. Arrest the people directly involved with the video. Besides that no crimes were committed and this trial will serve you in the World losing complete respect for Egypt. Just couple weeks ago a Women was gang raped in the capital square. Now this. Egypt seems to me to be the most Fascist, Women hating countries in the Middle Eastern area currently. That is saying something.

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