Latvian-Australian journalist Peter Greste speaks during a press conference at the Frontline Club in London, February 19, 2015. Amnesty is also urging the Egyptian authorities to facilitate Mohamed Fahmy’s request for deportation from Egypt to Canada. Australian Peter Greste, who was deported to Australia earlier this year, was on trial in absentia.
Al-Jazeera and the journalists denied the allegations, saying they were simply reporting the news.
Worldwide news agency Associated Press has been criticised for sending a tweet that referred to human rights lawyer Amal Clooney as an “actor’s wife”. “This is illogical”, Fahmy’s brother Adel said.
President el-Sisi launched a massive crackdown on supporters of Brotherhood after overthrowing former president, Mohamed Morsi, in July 2013 military coup.
In the time since, Qatar, which funds Al-Jazeera, has expelled some Brotherhood members and made overtures toward easing tensions with Egypt, though the Qatari government continues to support some Islamists in the region.
In his ruling, Judge Hassan Farid claimed that neither Fahmy nor Mohamed merited the legal protections extended to journalists since neither had been formally authorized by the Egyptian government to practice journalism.
Mr Abu Zeid said officials felt the need to speak out because Mr Casson’s comments implied that the trial of three journalists was about freedom of speech, rather than the “specific violations” which he said had been committed.
But the journalists said they were merely trying to give different perspectives of news. “This is a grave injustice and the president now has an opportunity to correct that injustice and show the world that Egypt is capable of making a just verdict”. He may pardon them if he chooses. She again called for the immediate release of Canadian citizen Mohamed Fahmy.
As well, she says he requires a specific diet and mineral water, which are not available in prison. Mohamed was picked up at his home. In what the global community decried a sham trial, the journalists were initially sentenced to 10 years.
Fahmy, Greste, and Mohamed worked for the English-language division of Al Jazeera.
“The prosecutor presented no new evidence to suggest we were guilty of anything”, he said.
“I am concerned that today’s ruling will undermine confidence in the basis of Egypt’s stability, both in Egypt and overseas”, John Casson told reporters at the court following the announcement of the verdict.
For now, the journalist’s dream has been deferred as he prepares to spend additional years imprisoned in Egypt.
“The fact is that we did nothing wrong, that there was no evidence of wrongdoing, that these guys are innocent men and innocent men are in prison”.
Greste, speaking in Sydney, attacked the convictions as “staggering”.