AMEJA condemns Egyptian court decision, condemning Al-Jazeera journalists Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed to sentences of 7-10 years...

 

STATEMENT OF AMEJA REGARDING EGYPTIAN COURT SENTENCING OF

AL JAZEERA STAFF

June 24, 2014—Since being established nearly a decade ago, the Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association (AMEJA) has weighed the efficacy of commenting on the outrages our colleagues have faced around the globe.  In many cases, the board has been asked by the families of affected journalists to withhold comment, lest extra publicity worsen the situation of our colleagues.  At other times, AMEJA has been advised that commenting on the misdeeds against journalists will possibly put yet unaffected AMEJA members at risk.   As a rule, AMEJA has no desire to be part of any story, and certainly, as an organization dedicated to helping members prosper in their careers, we surely do not want to create a situation where association with AMEJA could be used as an excuse to harm them.

There are situations however, in which the assault on journalists is so outrageous, that AMEJA cannot withhold comment.  The latest Egyptian court decision, condemning Al-Jazeera journalists Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed to sentences of 7-10 years for spurious charges of “spreading false news” in support of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood, is one such case.   The case against these journalists, as well as over a dozen other journalists tried in absentia lacked the most basic notions of prudence and fairness.  Prosecution evidence was contradictory, fabricated, or even non-existent.  Defense arguments were either ignored or simply disallowed.    In short, this case represents a travesty of justice from the start.

AMEJA condemns this court decision fully and absolutely and calls for all with influence to work toward its complete reversal.    AMEJA is also deeply concerned about the precedent this case might set, threatening the security of any journalist trying rigorously to do his or her job of informing the public.  People of good conscience, journalists, civil right organizations, governments that believe in the rule of law, should assure that this outrage does not continue.

###