[QODLink]
Middle East

Al Jazeera reporter's father in plea to Egypt

Juris Greste says his son, Peter, has done nothing wrong, as Egypt announces trial date for him and two colleagues.

Last updated: 12 Feb 2014 08:07
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

The father of Al Jazeera correspondent Peter Greste has pleaded with Egyptians to realise that his son is innocent, as a date for the start of his trial was announced in Cairo.

Greste, Mohammed Fahmy and Baher Mohammed will face their first hearing on February 20, charged with links to a "terrorist organisation" and "spreading false news". 

Greste's father, Juris, reiterated shortly before the announcement of the date that his son had done nothing wrong.

Egypt marks three years without Hosni Mubarak

"To the Egyptian people, we respectfully insist that Peter is innocent of all allegations against him," he said. "He is the innocent victim of a challenging time Egypt is living through."

Mr Greste added that Peter should be judged on the high quality reporting he produced in Egypt.

The three journalists have already been in jail for 45 days. Al Jazeera strongly denies the charges against them.

The Egyptian government has said they have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, which was declared a terrorist organisation on December 25th.

Abdullah al-Shami, from the station's Arabic sister channel, is not part of the case. He was arrested in August and is in the third week of a hunger strike to protest his imprisonment.

Another journalist from the media network, Mohamed Badr, was acquitted of a charge that he was involved in rioting in Cairo and has been released.

Last week, Al Jazeera said it was served with a list of 20 peoplebeing pursued by the Egyptian government, but that only nine of those named were on its staff.

Find more on journalism in Egypt and #FreeAJStaff here.

Last week, the White House called on Egypt's government to release the journalists.

"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.

On Tuesday, US Congressman Hank Johnson pressed the White House on what efforts it was making to pressure the Egyptian leadership to free the journalists. 

The UN has also expressed concern about the "increasingly severe clampdown and physical attacks" on journalists in Egypt, including those working for Al Jazeera.

"In recent months, there have been numerous reports of harassment, detention and prosecution of national and international journalists as well as violent attacks," UN spokesman Rupert Colville said.

442

Source:
Al Jazeera
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.