Ahmed Mansour, a presenter on Al Jazeera Arabic, has been sentenced in absentia to fifteen years imprisonment by Cairo’s criminal court on the charge of torturing a lawyer in Tahrir Square during the January 25 uprising in 2011.
Al Jazeera denies the charge against Mansour, which follows the sentencing of several other Al Jazeera journalists, including Baher Mohamed, Peter Greste and Mohamed Fahmy, in June.
“This unjust ruling along with false accusations and criminal charges is further evidence of the attempt to silence journalists, tarnish their reputations and disrupt their work,” an Al Jazeera spokesman said.
“Ahmad Mansour himself has been targeted with more than 150 false accusations and complaints against him by the Egyptian authorities, this verdict being just one of them.
“This case is another illustration of how Al Jazeera Media Network is paying the price for its professionalism, after the imprisonment of its journalists from Al Jazeera English, and Abdullah Elshamy, and the shooting of Mohammad Al-Zaki during the dispersal of the Rabaa sit-in.
“It is a price not only paid by Al Jazeera, but also other journalists from global and Egyptian media.
“Scores have faced harassment, been arrested, and even lost their lives for the sake of getting the truth to viewers and readers.”
Australian Peter Greste, Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian Baher Mohamed were convicted on June 23 after being accused of aiding the Muslim Brotherhood.
Greste and Fahmy received seven-year terms, while Mohamed was sentenced to 10 years, in a case that caused international outrage.
Eleven defendants tried in absentia, including one Dutch and two British journalists, were given 10-year sentences.
The Al Jazeera spokesman said: “The verdict against Ahmad Mansour – who is followed by millions and has interviewed world and thought leaders – reveals how the Egyptian judicial system is politicised and continues to use its authority to intimidate journalists.
“Despite this baseless ruling, Ahmad Mansour remains one of the most respected journalists in the Arab world.
“Al Jazeera Media Network calls on the Egyptian authorities to refrain from character assassinations against journalists in their attempts to unfairly tarnish reputations.
“The network renews its demand for all jailed journalists to be released and stands firmly by its colleagues.”