An Egyptian court on Monday sentenced three journalists from Al Jazeera English to between seven and 10 years in prison. The alleged crime is aiding a group designated by Cairo as terrorist and manipulating footage to tarnish Egypt’s image.
The journalists Mohamed Fahmy, Baher Mohamed and Peter Greste have been detained since late December. In a statement, Al Jazeera English’s managing director Al Anstey said the judge’s decision “defies logic, sense, and any semblance of justice” and vowed to continue to press for the journalists’ release.
The statement went on to say that “There were many moments during the hearings where in any other court of law, the trial would be thrown out. There were numerous irregularities in addition to the lack of evidence to stand up the ill-conceived allegations.”
Egyptian ambassadors in the UK and the Netherlands have been summoned over the journalists sentencing. US secretary of state John Kerry said the conviction is chilling and a draconian sentence. Media and human rights organisations have also voiced deep concern over the verdict.
Are the journalists victims of a political show trial? And what does it mean for Egypt as it enters a new era?
Presenter: Hazem Sika
Padraig Reidy, columnist for Index on Censorship.
Vaughan Smith, founder of Frontline Club and former war correspondent.
Mohamed Lotfi, executive director of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms. He monitored the trial of Al Jazeera staff on behalf of Amnesty International.