AJ staff detention in Egypt reaches 200 days

Journalists across the world speak out in protest of continued detention of Al Jazeera's staff now held for 200 days.

    Vigils have been held for three Al Jazeera journalists who have spent 200 days in an Egyptian prison, on false accusations.

    On Wednesday, journalists around the world participated in showing their support for Mohamed Fahmy, Baher Mohamed and Peter Greste's freedom.

    They were sentenced to seven to 10 years each in prison after being handed a controversial verdict on June 23 that caused international outrage and condemnation.

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

    Al Jazeera has strenuously rejected the charges against its journalists and maintains their innocence.

    In a letter from prison provided to Al Jazeera by Mohamed Fahmy's family, he wrote: "In prison, I have learned to turn suffering into tragic optimism; a human achievement. I see the global support and continuous campaigns as an achievement for all of us: rallying, tweeting and simply saying "journalism is not a crime."

    "A moment of clarity flares my memory as I sit writing this letter in my navy blue prison garb reserved for convicts," wrote Fahmy.

    But Al Jazeera English's Cairo bureau chief said that despite their struggles, he and his colleagues remain determined to seek justice.

    "200 days of injustice, solitary confinement and collective punishment has left me and my colleagues, Peter Greste and Baher Mohammed, more determined than ever to fight this war against freedom of speech.

    Greste, Fahmy, and Mohamed were arrested in December in Cairo as they covered the aftermath of the army's removal of Mohamed Morsi from the presidency in July.

    The prosecution said Greste, Al Jazeera's East Africa correspondent, and his Egypt bureau colleagues aided the Brotherhood and produced false news reports of the situation in Egypt.

    The Brotherhood, which supported Morsi, was listed as a "terrorist" organisation by the interim Egyptian government shortly before the accused were arrested.

    The prosecution produced a number of items as evidence including a BBC podcast, a news report made while none of the accused were in Egypt, a pop video by the Australian singer Gotye, and several recordings on non-Egyptian issues.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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