By DAPHNE OKUYAMA, age 10
On June 23, 2014, Al Jazeera journalists Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohammed were sentenced to seven to 10 years in prison by the Egyptian government. They were convicted of endangering national security and conspiring with the banned Muslim Brotherhood to broadcast false news. Al Jazeera demands an immediate release of their journalists.
At the hearing, the prosecution argued that the journalists had inaccurately covered a protest in Cairo’s Tahrir Square by using “selective filming.” However, the prosecution tried to prove they were guilty by using evidence that had no clear connection to the case. For example, they played a news report made while none of the accused were in Egypt, footage of sheep, a pop music video by the Australian singer Gotye and several other recordings that had nothing to do with Egyptian political issues.
Mohamed Lotfy, executive director of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, observed the entire trial for Amnesty International. In response to the ruling, he said, “It’s a warning to all journalists that they could one day face a similar trial and conviction simply for carrying out their official duties.”
According to Amnesty International, the Egyptian government claims that Al Jazeera is supporting the rights of the Muslim Brotherhood, and are therefore convicting the journalists to punish the news agency.
At a press conference in Australia, Greste’s parents stated, “We are absolutely determined and committed to continue this battle until Peter and his colleagues are all out of prison. The campaign for media freedom and free speech must never end.”
Muslim Brotherhood: the political party that came to power in Egypt after the 2011 revolution, and was overthrown in July 2013 and outlawed in December 2013.