Middle East

Sisi: Egypt should have deported journalists

President says he wishes journalists were deported rather than tried, weeks after three Al Jazeera staff were jailed.

Last updated: 07 Jul 2014 08:14
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Egypt’s president has said he wished journalists jailed in his country had been deported rather than tried, less than two weeks after three Al Jazeera staff were sentenced to seven years in prison for “aiding a terrorist group”.

Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was reported by the Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper as telling a meeting of local editors that the trials had hurt Egypt.

I wish they were deported after their arrest, instead of being put on trial.

Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, 
Egyptian president.



"The sentencing of several journalists had a very negative effect, and we had nothing to do with it," the former army chief was quoted as saying in the newspaper’s Monday edition. 

"I wish they were deported after their arrest, instead of being put on trial."

Sisi did not mention anyone by name.

His comments came less than two weeks after Al Jazeera journalists Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and and Baher Mohamed were jailed for seven years on charges of aiding the Muslim Brotherhood, a banned group, and reporting "false news" in the aftermath of a coup against the Brotherhood-backed president, Mohamed Morsi.

Baher Mohamed was sentenced to a further three years in prison for "possessing ammunition". The evidence against him was a spent bullet casing he had picked up during a protest in Cairo.

Sisi said afterwards that he would not interfere in the verdicts, which were condemned by governments and human rights activists across the world.

Evidence against the journalists included a pop video, Greste's holiday photos from Germany, a BBC report about Somalia and a Sky News Arabia film about an Egyptian horse sanctuary. 

Greste's brother, Andrew, said he was heartened by Sisi’s latest comments. 

"I'm sure images of Peter in the cage in the court are not images Egypt really wants distributed around the world," Andrew Greste said in Brisbane.

"The publicity they're getting out of this I'm sure is not the publicity any country would want ... I'd like to think that there's ... an amicable solution."


Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
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.
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.