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New bid to free journalists held in Cairo

  • September 5th, 2014
  • Posted by EU Australia

IFJ CairoThere has been no easing of the campaign in support of the Al-Jazeera English journalists imprisoned in Cairo.

Supporters say this is in response to a sense of injustice; the group are seen as scapegoats for trouble between the Egyptian government now in power and the Arabic language service of their news organisation; legal representatives decried the weak quality of evidence, or absence of evidence on the political charges brought against them.

In the latest intervention, the International Federation of Journalists and its affiliate Arab Federation of Journalists have obtained access to the Prime Minister in Cairo this week.

Statement from the IFJ:

The International Federation of Journalists welcomes the meeting this morning in Cairo between an IFJ-FAJ delegation and Egypt‘s Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab to discuss the imprisonment of the three Al Jazeera journalists – Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed – jailed by an Egyptian court on 23rd June.

The International Federation of Journalists delegation included its President Jim Boumelha and its former President Christopher Warren who is also Federal Secretary of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance of Australia, Peter Greste’s union.

See picture, left to right: Hatem Zakaria, General Secretary of the Federation of Arab Journalists; Chris Warren, Federal Secretary of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance of Australia; Ibrahim Mahlab, Prime Minister of the Republic of Egypt and Jim Boumelha, President of the International Federation of Journalists.
“We are particularly grateful that the Prime Minister started a dialogue and understood the concern of the IFJ and its member unions about the imprisonment of our colleagues who worked for Al Jazeera and the impact the sentence is having on their families,” said Jim Boumelha.

The Prime Minister explained that the legal process should be allowed to reach a conclusion before looking at new avenues. It is hoped that the innocence of the three journalists can be established during the appeal.

Christopher Warren pointed to the record of Peter Greste as an independent, ethical journalist and noted his respect among his peers.

“The release of Peter and his colleagues would be a strong gesture to journalists and we urge the President to exercise his prerogative of mercy,“ he said.

The delegation appealed to the Prime Minister to support the call to Egypt’s president by journalists’ unions all over the world and also by the Arab Federation of Journalists and leaders of the journalists’ syndicate in Egypt to exercise his prerogative to issue a pardon once the legal process is exhausted.

Both sides agreed to remain in communication throughout this process and continue further discussions.

The IFJ represents more than 600 000 journalists in 134 countries.

Reference

IFJ, Brussels, (Media Release)IFJ-FAJ Delegation Urges Egyptian Prime Minister to Release Al-Jazeera Jailed Journalists, 4.9.14.

 

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