Jailing of journalists in Egypt

 

Sir, – The jailing of three al-Jazeera journalists and the sentencing in absentia of their colleagues by an Egyptian court represents an attack on the right to freedom of expression that has rightly been universally condemned.

Peter Greste and Mohamed Fahmy have been sentenced to seven years in jail, while Baher Mohamed was sentenced to an additional three years for possession of ammunition. Mohamed was in possession of a spent bullet he found on the ground during a protest.

Their journalistic colleagues – Alaa Bayoumi, Anas Abdel-Wahab Khalawi Hasan, Khaleel Aly Khaleel Bahnasy, Mohamed Fawzi, Dominic Kane, Rena Netjes and Sue Turton – have been sentenced to 10 years in absentia.

Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy, Baher Mohamed, Alaa Bayoumi, Anas Abdel-Wahab Khalawi Hasan, Khaleel Aly Khaleel Bahnasy, Mohamed Fawzi, Dominic Kane, Rena Netjes and Sue Turton are journalists. They are not terrorists. They are not criminals.

They are journalists who have been jailed for doing their jobs, convicted without a single shred of evidence by a court which displayed no respect for the principles of justice or fair procedure.

This is a violation of human rights that must be condemned by the international community.

We call on the Egyptian government to have these convictions overturned and to stop locking up journalists.

We also call on the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs to help make this case a priority at EU level and at the United Nations.

Journalists and media organisations must be free to pursue their professional duties without intimidation or fear. The imprisonment of these journalists represents an attack on all who demand a free, independent global media. – Yours, etc,

KEVIN BAKHURST,

Managing Director,

RTÉ News

and Current Affairs;

DAVID BEGG,

Irish Secretary,

Irish Congress

of Trade Unions;

RONAN BRADY,

Griffith College, Dublin;

JIM BOUMELHA,

President,

International

Federation of Journalists;

HARRY BROWNE,

Dublin Institute

of Technology;

FRANK CONNOLLY,

journalist and Siptu

head of communications;

GERRY CURRAN,

Cathaoirleach,

Irish Executive Council,

National Union

of Journalists;

SUSAN DALY,

Editor, TheJournal.ie;

SÉAMUS DOOLEY,

Irish Secretary,

National Union

of Journalists;

DR MICHAEL FOLEY,

Dublin Institute

of Technology;

TOM FELLE,

University of Limerick;

Dr RODDY FLYNN,

Dublin City University;

Prof JOHN HORGAN,

Press Ombudsman;

Prof COLUM KENNY,

Dublin City University;

ANDREA MARTIN,

Media Lawyer solicitors;

Dr DES McGUINNESS,

Dublin City University;

Prof PASCHAL PRESTON,

Director, Comtec

research unit,

Dublin City University;

COLM O’GORMAN,

Executive Director,

Amnesty International

Ireland;

DÁITHÍ O’CEALLAIGH,

Chairman, Press Council

of Ireland;

JOHNNY O’HANLON,

Director,

Regional Newspapers

and Printers Association

of Ireland;

Dr JOHN O’SULLIVAN,

Dublin City University;

MICHELLE

STANISTREET,

General Secretary,

National Union

of Journalists;

CLIFF TAYLOR,

Editor, Sunday

Business Post;

MARTIN MOLONY,

Dublin City University;

ROBBIE SMYTH,

Griffith College, Dublin;

STEPHEN RAE,

Editor-in-Chief,

IAN MALLON,

Group Head of News,

Independent News & Media,

Ireland;

JOHN KIERANS,

Editor-in-Chief,

Irish Daily Mirror

and Irish Sunday Mirror;

SIMON McALEESE,

Managing Partner,

McAlese Solicitors;

Dr RODDY FLYNN,

Dublin City University;

BERNADETTE

O’SULLIVAN,

National University

of Ireland, Galway;

Prof STEVEN KNOWLTON,

Dublin City University;

WILLIAM TUKE,

Dublin City University;

SHIRLEY BRADSHAW,

Chairman, RTÉ Trade

Union Group;

JOHN DOUGLAS,

President, ICTU.