Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Europe's Plan for Putin - Will Russian Leader Bend After New Sanctions? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Europe's Plan for Putin - Will Russian Leader Bend After New Sanctions?

Read more

FOCUS

Pakistan's Ahmadis living in fear of extremist attacks

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users show solidarity with Iraqi Christians

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Gilles Kepel, Islamic and Arab world specialist

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Argentina braced for another debt default

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'What would you do?'

Read more

  • Deadly shelling strikes Gaza UN school

    Read more

  • Dozens killed in stampede at Guinea rap concert

    Read more

  • Rats on the rampage at Louvre museum gardens

    Read more

  • US and EU slap Russia with fresh sanctions over Ukraine

    Read more

  • 'Compelling' signs Kosovo leaders trafficked organs, prosecutor says

    Read more

  • Europe launches last resupply ship to space station

    Read more

  • Graphic: Ebola spreads across West Africa

    Read more

  • Islamists seize key Benghazi army base as fuel fire rages on

    Read more

  • In pictures: ن - a sign of support for Iraq’s persecuted Christians

    Read more

  • Calls mount to ban France’s ‘violent’ Jewish Defence League

    Read more

  • Venezuela: Hugo Chavez’s ‘little bird’ strikes again

    Read more

  • France extradites suspected Jewish Museum shooter to Belgium

    Read more

  • Video: How tourism is helping Rwanda’s gorillas, ex-poachers

    Read more

  • Rare Sri Lankan leopard cubs born in French zoo

    Read more

Africa

Al Jazeera journalists on trial in Egypt over Brotherhood claims

© Photo: AFP

Video by Sanam SHANTYAEI

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-02-20

An Egypt court ruled Thursday to adjourn the trial of 20 Al Jazeera journalists, including several foreigners, until March 5. The group is accused of supporting the banned Muslim Brotherhood in a case that has been criticised as media censorship.

The trial of journalists from the Qatar-based channel comes against a backdrop of strained relations between Cairo and Doha, which is a backer of ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi, and of his Muslim Brotherhood party.

Prosecutors allege that the defendants, including award-winning Australian reporter Peter Greste and Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, manipulated footage and supported the Brotherhood, which was banned after Morsi was deposed.

In all, 20 journalists are on trial, but only eight of them are in custody.

Prosecutors say the journalists falsely portrayed Egypt as being in a state of "civil war," possibly a reference to the broadcaster's coverage of a crackdown that has killed more than 1,000 Morsi supporters in street clashes.

The government has designated the Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation, although the group denies involvement in a spate of bombings since Morsi's overthrow.

‘Effort to frighten journalists’

Al Jazeera, which says only nine of the defendants are on its staff, has denied the charges.

Greste, a former BBC correspondent, and Fahmy, who worked with CNN before joining Al Jazeera, were arrested in a Cairo hotel in December.

The other foreign journalists listed in the indictment are abroad and will be tried in absentia.

They are Britons Sue Turton and Dominic Kane and Dutch journalist Rena Netjes, who does not work for the channel.

US authorities, press freedom groups and scores of journalists have protested against the detention of the reporters.

On Wednesday, the International Press Institute urged the court to release the journalists.

It said a fact-finding trip suggested that "security forces have been systematically accusing journalists of unsupported charges of aiding terrorists or spreading 'false news' in an effort to frighten all journalists and hinder independent news-gathering".

‘Prisons overflowing’

In a letter written from prison that was published last month by Al Jazeera, Greste described 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."

None of the arrested journalists appeared to have been working with press accreditation.

Egyptian officials insist the channel has been working for the benefit of Qatar, a strong supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood that has even hosted some of its members who have fled the crackdown.

"It is a Qatari network and Qatar is the only Gulf Arab country supporting the Muslim Brotherhood," a high-ranking official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

In the past, Al Jazeera, especially its Arabic-language service, has come under criticism for allegedly biased reporting in the Arab world.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Date created : 2014-02-20

  • EGYPT

    Egypt to put Al Jazeera journalists on trial

    Read more

  • EGYPT

    Al Jazeera journalists arrested for 'harming' Egypt's security

    Read more

  • EGYPT

    Egypt closes Al Jazeera affiliate, Brotherhood TV

    Read more

COMMENT(S)