Al Jazeera staff charged in Egypt are named

Network says only nine of 20 people wanted in connection with case involving its journalists are on its staff.

Calls to release the journalists grew after a social media campaign on Tuesday [Al Jazeera]
Calls to release the journalists grew after a social media campaign on Tuesday [Al Jazeera]

The Al Jazeera media network said it has been served with a list of 20 people being pursued by Egypt’s government in connection with a case against its journalists but that only nine of those named were on its staff.

I didn't treat the situation there any differently to every other story I've reported on in almost 25 years as a TV reporter.

Sue Turton, Al Jazeera

In a news bulletin on Wednesday, the Doha-based organisation said that the list was accompanied by several formal charges that were different for each named individual.

Three of the Al Jazeera employees listed have been in detention since December 29th – correspondent Peter Greste and producers Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy. 

New to the list were British journalists Sue Turton and Dominic Kane, the network said, adding that both had reported from Cairo after the toppling of former president Mohamed Morsi.

Turton has worked for Britain’s Sky News, ITN and Channel 4 news organisations, while Kane is a former BBC journalist.

The others named were Egyptian producers and engineers working for the network in Qatar, all of whom refute the charges levelled against them, Al Jazeera said.

A journalist from the Al Jazeera Arabic channel, Abdullah Al Shami, has been in custody since August and is in the third week of a hunger strike to protest his imprisonment.


Responding to her inclusion on the list, Turton said she was “astounded” that a warrant had been issued for her arrest.

“I didn’t treat the situation there any differently to every other story I’ve reported on in almost 25 years as a TV reporter,” she said.

“I have no allegiance to any political group in Egypt or anywhere else and no desire to promote any one point of view.”

Kane said he had always tried to cover events in Egypt with “impartiality and accuracy” and that he was dismayed by the accusations against his colleagues being held without charge in Cairo.

“No one should doubt the harshness of the conditions they have been held in for the past five weeks and counting,” he said.

“They should be released immediately. They were doing a difficult job as well and impartially as they could in trying circumstances.”

Last month,  Greste wrote letters  from Tora Prison, one of which described the difficult conditions that his colleagues were being held in, and what he sees as a lack of press freedom in Egypt.

“The state will not tolerate hearing from the Muslim Brotherhood or any other critical voices,” he wrote. “The prisons are overflowing with anyone who opposes or challenges the government.” 

US support

On Tuesday, the White House called on Egypt’s government to release the four journalists still in prison.

“These figures, regardless of affiliation, should be protected and permitted to do their jobs freely in Egypt,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said when asked about their detention.

“We have strongly urged the government to drop these charges and release those journalists and academics who have been detained.”

Calls to release the journalists had grown earlier on Tuesday when a social media campaign blossomed after the Foreign Correspondents’ Association of East Africa marched on Egypt’s embassy in Nairobi – where Greste is based – to protest the jailings.

To support that demonstration, journalists and others shared through social media pictures of themselves with their mouths taped or covered.

They also held up signs emblazoned with #FreeAJStaff , a campaign slogan being used on Twitter.

Source : Al Jazeera

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