Writing from Tora Prison, Al Jazeera correspondent Peter Greste has outlined the fate of his fellow journalists, detained for two weeks without charge in Egypt.
Award winning foreign correspondent Greste, spoke of his fears over writing the letter, but said that he had made the decision that remaining silent and fighting his imprisonment from within “validates an attack not just on me and my two colleagues but on freedom of speech across Egypt.”
Greste and producers Baher Mohamed and Mohammed Fahmy have been held since December 29. They are accused of spreading lies harmful to state security and joining a terrorist group.
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None of the men have been charged and Al Jazeera says all the allegations are totally unfounded.
Journalists from sister channels Al Jazeera Arabic and Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr are also being held. Abdullah Al Shami and Mohamed Bader are now in their fifth month of detention.
In a letter written on paper passed to him by people in his neighbouring cells, Greste wrote of the way in which his Egyptian colleagues were being held.
“Fahmy and Baher have been accused of being Muslim Brotherhood members, so they are being held in the far more draconian “Scorpion prison” built for convicted terrorists.
“Fahmy has been denied the hospital treatment he badly needs for a shoulder injury he sustained shortly before our arrest. Both men spend 24 hours a day in their mosquito-infested cells, sleeping on the floor with no books or writing materials to break the soul- destroying tedium.”
The prosecutor general has already extended the initial 15-day detention by another 15 days, a tactic that can be indefinitely employed, keeping the men behind bars without charge.
On Friday, US Senator John McCain openly condemned the continued detention of the journalists, calling it a clear violation of press freedom.