The Secretary General of Amnesty International has condemned Egypt’s detention of five Al Jazeera journalists, calling it part of a broader crackdown on freedom of expression in the country.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Salil Shetty said the international community must keep up pressure on the Egyptian government to resolve the situation.
“Unfortunately what’s happened with the Al Jazeera journalists is part of an overall attempt to repress freedom of expression, so we have been raising our voice,” Shetty said of efforts by Amnesty International to raise awareness.
While success may take time, he added, “I think it’s absolutely right for us to keep up the pressure… If you don’t have freedom of the press and you don’t have freedom of expression, then you can’t have democratic societies functioning.”
Al Jazeera correspondent Peter Greste, along with producers Baher Mohamed and Mohammed Fahmy, have been imprisoned in Egypt without charge since December 29.
They are accused of spreading lies harmful to state security and joining a terrorist group, allegations that Al Jazeera categorically denies.
Two journalists from sister channels Al Jazeera Arabic and Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr, Abdullah Al Shami and Mohamed Bader, have also been held in Egypt for months.
Last week, US Senator John McCain openly condemned the continued detention of the journalists, calling it a clear violation of press freedom.