Three Al Jazeera journalists were convicted this morning in Cairo of conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood to broadcast false news. Mohamed Fadel Fahmy and Peter Greste were sentenced to seven years in jail, and Baher Mohammed was sentenced to 10 years—the three additional years were for "possession of ammunition."
Al Jazeera managing director Al Anstey said the verdict "defies logic, sense, and any semblance of justice." Fahmy, Greste, and Mohamed have been jailed since December, and prosecutors presented no actual evidence that the three conspired with the Muslim Brotherhood or broadcast false news during their trial. Mohamed's "possession of ammunition" charge stems from his possession of "a single spent shell casing he had taken as a souvenir" during a protest, according to The New York Times.
Here's a video of the verdict being announced. You can hear Fahmy shout, "They will pay for this."
All three journalists have previously worked for international news organizations like CNN and the BBC. Now, ambassadors from Canada, England, and Australia—Fahmy is Canadian, and Greste is Australian—have promised to work for their release. Antsey noted in his statement:
At no point during the long drawn out "trial" did the absurd allegations stand up to scrutiny. There were many moments during the hearings where in any other court of law, the trial would be thrown out. There were numerous irregularities in addition to the lack of evidence to stand up the ill-conceived allegations. There is no justification whatsoever in the detention of our three colleagues for even one minute.
Last week, Egyptian authorities released Al Jazeera journalist Abdullah Elshamy on account of his failing health. He was present at today's verdict.
Here for the verdict Al Jazeera's Abdullah Elshamy who was released last wk after 130 days on hunger strike pic.twitter.com/75697Po4HG
— Christian Fraser (@ForeignCorresp) June 23, 2014
[Image via AP]