Calls for free press after Egypt jails Al Jazeera crew
| 23 June 2014
A day after US Secretary of State John Kerry urged Egypt to uphold press freedom, a Cairo court has jailed three Al Jazeera journalists for 'terrorism'-related charges.
Al Jazeera's three journalists – Peter Greste, an Australian, Mohamed Fahmy, a Canadian-Egyptian national, and Baher Mohamed, an Egyptian – were arrested on 29 December and charged with reporting news that was "damaging to national security". All three have always strenuously denied the charges, as does their Qatar-based employer. The prosecutors had called for a 15-year penalty for the Al Jazeera team accused of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.
"I emphasised also our strong support for upholding the universal rights and freedoms of all Egyptians including freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association," Kerry said at a joint news conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri on Sunday. "We also discussed the essential role of a vibrant civil society, free press, rule of law and due process in a democracy," he said.