Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Egypt's Crackdown on Al Jazeera

Above photo: Peter Greste (left) and his colleagues, Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fadel Fahmy (center) and Egyptian Baher Mohamed (right) 

The guilty verdicts pronounced on Al Jazeera journalists by an Egyptian court on Monday triggered international outrage and condemnation of what many described as an "unjust verdict”. 

Australian Peter Greste and Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy were sentenced to seven years in prison while Egyptian Baher Mohamed was given an additional three years for possession of ammunition. [Mohamed was in possession of a spent bullet casing he had found on the ground during a protest]. 

Other Al Jazeera journalists who were tried in absentia, including Sue Turton and Dominic Kane, were sentenced to 10 years. 

This is a blatant case of a judiciary ruling that didn't make any sense at all.

Greste, Fahmy, and Mohamed were arrested in December in Cairo as they covered the aftermath of the army's ouster of Mohamed Morsi from the presidency in July. The prosecution said Greste, Al Jazeera's East Africa correspondent, and his Egypt bureau colleagues aided the Muslim Brotherhood and produced false news reports of the situation in Egypt. 

The Brotherhood, which supported Morsi, were labelled a "terrorist" organization by the interim Egyptian government shortly before the accused were arrested. 

This is very troubling. Where is the media freedom? Where is free speech? Since when is journalism considered a criminal act? Shame on Egypt! 

Last Friday, I was at the book launch of “Law for Business” presided over by Selventhiranathan Thiagarajah, retired Court of Appeal judge. The authors are my SUBS colleagues at Sunway University. A monumental work that was at least two years in the making. Lots of blood, sweat and tears went into this 1079-page publication, I am sure. I am proud of these guys!

No comments: