10 April, Doha – The three Al Jazeera English journalists will remain behind bars until the next hearing on April 22nd despite the lack of evidence shown in court in Cairo.
The fifth hearing in the trial was halted after the prosecution screened video which it says supports its case against the Al Jazeera team. But the reports showed Peter Greste reporting in Kenya and extracts of his award-winning BBC documentary on Somalia. The court also saw a report from Sky News Arabia on tourism in Luxor. Defence lawyers argued none of the video had any connection to the case and called for the journalists to be released. However, the judge refused to drop the charges and announced the next hearing would be on April 22nd.
Al Anstey, managing director of Al Jazeera English said:
"Every time the case comes back to court, the world sees just how absurd the allegations agains our team really are. Mohammed, Baher, and Peter are first class journalists. They were just doing their job covering and challenging all sides of the story in Egypt. They should be released immediately.
“Over 45,000 people have been actively involved in the worldwide campaign for the release of our three, and Al Jazeera Arabic’s Abdullah El Shamy, which has resulted in over one billion impressions on social media.”
Al Jazeera has also had the support of media organisations worldwide including the BBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, Sky New, Channel Seven and ABC in Australia, Reuters, and the Associated Press, among many other broadcasters and news outlets in all corners of the globe.
Media freedom groups including the Committee to Protect Journalists, the International Press Institute, and the International News Safety Group have shown solidarity in calling for the release of Al Jazeera’s staff. Al Jazeera has also had statements of support from the UN, the White House, the British Foreign Office, and the European Union.
Al Jazeera is also deeply concerned about the health of Abdullah Elshamy who has been on hunger strike for 80 days. Abdullah is a reporter for AL Jazeera Arabic, and has without charge since 14th August 2013, while Baher Mohamed, Mohammed Fahmy, and Peter Greste have been detained since 29th December 2013.