Middle East

Al Jazeera journalists spend 100 days in jail

Network calls for the release of journalists imprisoned in Egypt on false accusations.

Last updated: 08 Apr 2014 04:33
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British journalists demand release of Al Jazeera staff

Al Jazeera English journalists Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy, and Baher Mohamed have been held in jail in Egypt for 100 days.

On Monday, the network urged the international community to support its call for their release by sending their own personal messages on social media using the campaign hashtag, #FreeAJStaff.

A fourth Al Jazeera journalist, Abdullah al-Shami, has been held in Egypt for more than six months and has been on hunger strike since January 23. His detention was extended for an additional 45 days on March 13.

Al Jazeera strongly rejects the charges and calls for the immediate release of its staff.

Another Al Jazeera journalist, Mohamed Badr, was arrested on July 15 and released on February 5, when he was acquitted of a series of charges including being involved in the protests in Cairo's Ramses Square.

Al Anstey, the managing director of Al Jazeera English said: "Mohamed, Baher, and Peter have now been behind bars in Egypt for 100 days for simply doing their job, and for carrying out the highest quality journalism.

"The charges against them are false and baseless, so there is no justification whatsoever in the detention of innocent journalists for such an outrageous amount of time. We continue to call for their immediate release and for the release of our colleague from Al Jazeera Arabic, Abdullah Al Shamy, who has been behind bars for 236 days."

"We are very grateful for the immense support of our staff, from right around the world. The response to their detention has been outstanding. The campaign is focused on the release of our four staff, but is fundamentally a stand in the defence of journalism itself, and a call for people everywhere to have a right to be heard and the right to know what is really going on in their world."

#FreeAJstaff campaign

More than 40,000 people have been actively involved in the campaign for the release of the journalists, with events held in more than 30 countries and in every continent.

There have been more than 800 million impressions of #FreeAJStaff on Twitter and there have been repeated calls from governments, international institutions and media organisations for an end to the imprisonment of the journalists.

In New York on Monday, senior journalists will call on the Egyptian authorities to immediately release Al Jazeera's staff. 

100 days in detention

The conference will be attended by Owen Watson, an executive producer at Al Jazeera English; Gary Pruitt, the president of the Associated Press news agency; Susan Chira, the assistant managing editor of the New York Times; Jon Williams, the managing editor international at ABC News; Abderrahim Foukara, a bureau chief for Al Jazeera Arabic; and Sherif Mansour, the Middle East and North Africa programme co-ordinator at the Committee to Protect Journalists.

An event will also be held by the Columbia Journalism School to show solidarity for Al Jazeera.

In London, Heather Allan, the head of newsgathering at Al Jazeera English, will outline the current situation in Egypt in a speech at the Journalist Safety Symposium at the BBC.

After the symposium, delegates, journalists and media freedom organisations will be hosting a protest at the Piazza at New Broadcasting House.

The Foreign Correspondents' Association of Southern Africa will also be holding a protest outside the Pretoria High Court to show support for Al Jazeera.

The United States, The UK and the EU have all called for the release of Al Jazeera's staff imprisoned in Egypt.


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