Al Jazeera condemns video of staff arrest

Private Egyptian channel broadcasts footage of arrest of Peter Greste and Mohamed Fahmy, and sets it dramatic music.

Al Jazeera has condemned the release of a video showing the arrest of their journalists, Peter Greste and Mohamed Fahmy, in Cairo in December.

The video was aired by the private Egyptian channel Al-Tahrir on Sunday night. It shows a raid on their hotel rooms, accompanied by music from a film score.

Al Jazeera says that the leak and dramatisation of the footage betrays an attempt to demonise the journalists, and is the latest incident of incitement against the network.

It could also prejudice the trial that the Egyptian authorities say they wish to pursue, Al Jazeera says.

“If this video was deliberately leaked, it violates basic standards of justice. If it came out by mistake, the professionalism of the prosecution process is called into question,” said Salah Negm, director of news for Al Jazeera English.

The video shows Greste and Fahmy in their hotel room being questioned by authorities. Some parts of the video’s audio track are muted.

“The video ridiculously sets images of our crew’s laptops, cameras and mobile phones against dramatic music. People who look beyond the propaganda though will see the video shows what we have been saying all along – that our crew were journalists doing their job,” said Negm.

He added that the team had openly filed several packages and live reports prior to their arrest.

“This is not an issue of accreditation. Them not having full paperwork from the authorities in no way justifies their ongoing incarceration and treatment. They should be released forthwith.”

Greste, Fahmy and Baher Mohamed have been detained in Egypt since December 29 without charge.

Writing from his prison cell south of Cairo, Greste said the authorities routinely violate legally enshrined prisoners’ rights, denying visits from lawyers, keeping cells locked for 20 hours a day.

Al Jazeera denies the allegations against its journalists and has condemned their continuing detention, along with the United Nations, international rights groups and news media figures.

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Source: Al Jazeera