Al Jazeera’s Greste vows to confront terrorism charges

Freed journalist offers to give evidence via video link as he and two colleagues face retrial in Egypt.

Freed Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste is pushing to give evidence via video link from Australia at his retrial in Egypt on June 1.

Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste says he is still in danger of being convicted in absentia on terrorism charges, as he and two of his colleagues face accusations of aiding the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

Greste said that ongoing hearings of Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed pose a threat to his future as he continues to be named in court.

“I’m not allowed to be in Egypt as the president kicked me out,” Greste said. “But the court is demanding that I return, saying if I don’t, under the rules I will be automatically convicted.”

 Peter Greste was deported after 400 days in jail

Greste said he has offered to give evidence at the trial as “this is the only way that I can think of that I can demonstrate to the court, the Egyptian government and the Egyptian people that I’m not a fugitive, I’m not afraid of justice, that I am prepared to go through a cross-examination and defend myself”.

He rejected the charges levelled against the trio saying “there is no evidence against us, we weren’t doing anything criminal, we weren’t guilty of any of the charges laid against us”.

Fahmy, Mohamed and Greste were sentenced last year to between seven and 10 years in jail on charges including spreading lies to help a “terrorist organisation” – a reference to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Greste was freed on February 1 and deported after 400 days in prison, while Fahmy and Mohamed were released on bail on February 13 after spending 411 days behind bars.

The judge who sentenced the journalists released his reasoning in July, saying they were brought together “by the devil” to destabilise the country.

Al Jazeera has denied the accusations, saying its staff were just doing their jobs.

The journalists’ imprisonment reinforced the view of human rights groups that the government was rolling back freedoms gained after the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

Source: Al Jazeera


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