[QODLink]
Middle East

Peter Greste decries Egypt court ruling

Al Jazeera correspondent says he is "devastated" that he will spend seven years in an Egyptian jail for reporting.

Last updated: 26 Jun 2014 06:01
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Peter Greste's statement

I am devastated and outraged by Monday's verdict. Throughout this trial, the prosecutor has consistently failed to present a single piece of concrete evidence to support the outrageous allegations against us. 

At the same time our lawyers have highlighted countless procedural errors, irregularities and abuses of due process that should have had the entire case thrown out of court many times over. 

That is why I intend to do everything I can and consider all possible measures to overturn the conviction. The verdict confirms that our trial was never simply about the charges against us. It has been an attempt to use the court to intimidate and silence critical voices in the media. 

That is why I know that our freedom, and more importantly the freedom of Egypt's press will never come without noisy, sustained pressure from individuals , human rights groups, governments and anyone who understand the fundamental importance of a free press to Egypt's fledgling democracy.

We are all grateful for the extraordinary and unprecedented public support that countless people have offered us throughout this ordeal. It has kept us strong and continues to do so. We must all remain committed to fight this gross injustice for as long as necessary.


Al Jazeera correspondent Peter Greste has issued his first statement since being handed a seven-year prison sentence by an Egyptian court decrying the ruling.

The award-winning foreign correspondent said he was "devastated and outraged" by Monday's verdict, and that Egypt's state prosecutor had "consistently failed to present a single piece of concrete evidence" against him.

Greste said his lawyers "highlighted countless procedural errors, irregularities and abuses of due process that should have had the entire case thrown out of court many times over". 

"The verdict confirms that our trial was never simply about the charges against us. It has been an attempt to use the court to intimidate and silence critical voices in the media," he said.

Greste and producer Mohamed Fahmy were sentenced to seven years in jail for allegedly spreading lies considered harmful to state security and for joining a terrorist group.

Baher Mohamed was sentenced to an additional three years for possession of a spent bullet casing he had found on the ground during a protest. 

Several other Al Jazeera journalists were tried in absentia, including Sue Turton and Dominic Kane, who were sentenced to 10 years.

Al Jazeera strongly rejects the charges against all of its journalists and calls for their immediate release.

In a statement following the trial, Al Jazeera English's managing director Al Anstey said the judge's decision "defies logic, sense, and any semblance of justice". He promised to continue the call for the journalists' release.

The verdict has provoked an international outcry and raised fears of growing media restrictions in Egypt.

The US secretary of state, John Kerry, denounced the verdict as a "a chilling and draconian sentence".

539

Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeeras new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Featured
Private citizens take initiative to help 'irregular' migrants, accusing governments of excessive focus on security.
Indonesia's cassava plantations are being killed by mealybugs, and thousands of wasps will be released to stop them.
Violence in Ain al-Arab has prompted many Kurdish Syrians to flee to Turkey, but others are returning to battle ISIL.
Unelected representatives quietly iron out logistics of massive TPP and TTIP deals among US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.