Al Jazeera Journalist to Appeal 7-Year Prison Sentence in Egypt

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By Katherine Weber , Christian Post Reporter
July 25, 2014|7:33 pm
  • Foreign journalists and relatives of Al-Jazeera journalists walk near a police vehicle outside Cairo's
    (Photo: Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
    Foreign journalists and relatives of Al-Jazeera journalists walk near a police vehicle outside Cairo's Tora prison, where the trial of Al Jazeera journalists and other foreign media is due to take place, February 20, 2014.

One of the Al Jazeera journalists detained in Egypt on alleged terrorism charges will reportedly appeal his sentence, his younger brother told reporters this week.

Peter Greste, an Australian reporter working for the Al Jazeera network, will be appealing his seven-year prison sentence that he received in June, based on charges that he had reported in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood political party during the toppling of former leader Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

Greste and two other reporters, Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian Baher Mohammed, were accused of attempting to undermine Egypt's national security by "broadcasting false information" through Al Jazeera.

Greste's younger brother, Mike Greste, announced to reporters in Brisbane on Friday that his brother, who is currently being kept in the country's Tora prison, would be appealing his sentence. "Today we wish to announce we intend to appeal the verdict through the formal channels offered by the Egyptian legal system."

The imprisoned journalist added in his own statement to Reuters that he is given hope by the amount of international support he has received while he awaits his appeal. "At least part of our strength comes from the understanding that this isn't just about those wrongly convicted in our case. This is about press freedom, about freedom of speech, not just in Egypt, but globally."

"If the authorities in Egypt can ride out the storm then others can too. Gratifyingly the world seems to be behind us," Greste added.

It remains unclear if the other two imprisoned journalists, Fahmy and Mohammed, will also pursue an appeal.

When the journalists' sentencing was announced in June, Amnesty International and other human rights groups decried the court case as a political move, as Egypt has long accused Qatar, where Al Jazeera is based, of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood political party. Egypt's security forces have designated the Muslim Brotherhood to be a terrorist organization, and therefore consider any support of the political party to be a threat to the security of the nation.

At the time of the sentencing, Philip Luther, director of the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, described the trial as a "complete sham" and a "travesty of justice."

"This is a devastating verdict for the men and their families, and a dark day for media freedom in Egypt, when journalists are being locked up and branded criminals or 'terrorists' simply for doing their job," Luther said.

"The only reason these three men are in jail is because the Egyptian authorities don't like what they have to say. They are prisoners of conscience and must be immediately and unconditionally released. In Egypt today anyone who dares to challenge the state's narrative is considered a legitimate target."

 

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