Amnesty: Timing of AJ staff release deeply cynical

Rights group says Egypt treats political prisoners "like hostages to be released only when politically expedient".

    Amnesty International has described the timing of Egypt's release of Al Jazeera's journalists Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy as "deeply cynical".

    Nicholas Piachaud, Egypt researcher at Amnesty International, said the journalists and other activists were released just as Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was due to fly to New York to address the United Nations on Egypt's human rights record.

    "It is deeply cynical timing," Piachaud said.

    "Egypt is treating political prisoners like hostages to be released only when politically expedient."

    The journalists were released as part of a presidential pardon on Wednesday ahead of the Islamic holiday of Eid-al-Ahda. Dozens of activists were also released. 

    On August 29, a court in Cairo sentenced Canadian Fahmy and Egyptian Mohamed, along with Greste, to three years in jail after finding them guilty of "aiding a terrorist organisation".

    Seven Al Jazeera staff that were tried in absentia were not pardoned.

    The journalists had been initially found guilty in June 2014 of aiding a "terrorist organisation", a reference to the Muslim Brotherhood, which was outlawed in Egypt after the army overthrew President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

    At that original hearing, another six Al Jazeera journalists were tried in absentia on the same charges and were sentenced to 10 years' jail. 

     


    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Learn what India's parties' symbols mean by drawing them

    Learn what India's parties' symbols mean by drawing them

    More than 2,300 political parties have registered for the largest electoral exercise in the world.

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab states have launched more than 19,278 air raids across Yemen.

    Why did Bush go to war in Iraq?

    Why did Bush go to war in Iraq?

    No, it wasn't because of WMDs, democracy or Iraqi oil. The real reason is much more sinister than that.