A British Journalist Urges Release of Men Arrested for Terror Charges in Egypt
Al-Jazeera journalist Sue Turton protested for her fellow imprisoned journalists Peter Greste, Baher Mohammed and Mohammed Fahmy outside the Egyptian embassy in London. Turton was with colleagues and friends of the three men, who were arrested last year.
In June, Greste and Fahmy received seven-year sentences each whilst Mohammed got ten years. Three other foreign journalists including Turton, a former Channel 4 News and Sky News reporter, were sentenced to ten years in absentia.
Around 50 protestors were holding placards with writing saying, “Free them now” and “Journalism is not a crime”. Some even had shackled wrists and tape over their mouths.
Turton said, “The message is ‘enough is enough’. Our guys have now been in prison for 365 days. We were doing what all the other journalists in Cairo were also trying to do.
“The three guys in prison were just the same as any of the journalists standing here behind me. There’s nothing suspicious about the way that we were reporting there.”
She added that although conditions for the three had improved since the protests, the men were still crushed by the guilty verdicts. Turton also had her doubts about the appeal process which is due to start in 2015.
“It could be months before the retrial happens, so we’re looking into 2016. So although there is a glimmer of hope that something positive could come out of that, if they stick with the letter of the law in Egypt we could be looking a long time into the future.”
Fahmy and Greste were arrested at the Marriott hotel in Cairo on 29th December last year by police who raided their office. Mohammed was taken from his home later the same day. The journalists were accused of aiding the Muslim Brotherhood, a group recognised as a terrorist organisation by the Egyptian government. They were also accused of being members of the group.
The sentencing caused international condemnation and the National Union of Journalists called the sentences “outrageous”.