Al-Jazeera journalists jailed: Protests planned day after Egypt's 'appalling' sentencing of journalists for 'links to terror group'

Family of Australian-born Peter Greste say they are 'shattered' by the decision

Journalists are to protest today over the jailing in Egypt of colleagues from Al Jazeera which has provoked outrage around the world.

Staff from the BBC and other news organisations will hold a one minute silent protest outside New Broadcasting House in London at 09.41, the time of yesterday's sentencing. Hundreds are expected to attend, the BBC said.

The sentencing of Australian-born Peter Greste, Canadian-Egyptian acting Cairo bureau chief Mohammed Fahmy, and Egyptian producer Baher Mohammed to seven years each for charges relating to terrorism, met with widespread condemnation, not least from David Cameron who said he was “appalled”.

The imprisonment of the journalists on charges relating to terrorism provoked Foreign Secretary William Hague to summon the Egyptian ambassador in London for a meeting yesterday.

Further support has also come from The New York Times, which dedicated its entire back page on Sunday to the journalists.

Leaving the page blank, the only words scrawled atop it were: "This is what happens when you silence journalists. Show your support," in addition to a #FreeAJStaff Twitter hashtag and a "Journalism is not a crime" stamp.

 

The journalists were arrested in December as part of a crackdown on Islamist supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi.

There were 14 other co-defendants in the case, including two British journalists, Sue Turton and Dominic Kane. Eight being tried in absentia each received 10-year prison sentences.

Supporters of Nairobi-based Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste protesting against his imprisonment back in February Supporters of Nairobi-based Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste protesting against his imprisonment back in February A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “The Prime Minister is completely appalled by the guilty verdicts.

”We are particularly concerned about the reports of procedural issues during the trial, including that key prosecution evidence was not made available to the defence team.

“We will continue to raise this issue with the Egyptian government and urge them to review this case as a matter of urgency and demonstrate their commitment to freedom of expression.

”The Foreign Secretary raised this with the Egyptian foreign minister when he was visiting London in May.“

Mr Hague said: ”I am appalled by the guilty verdicts handed down against Egyptian and international journalists in Egypt.

“British ministers and diplomats will continue to urge the Egyptian government to demonstrate its commitment to freedom of expression by reviewing this case as a matter of urgency and I have instructed officials to summon the Egyptian ambassador to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.”

Mr Greste's father said today that his family was stunned by the court's decision to imprison his son.

Juris Greste told reporters in the family's home town of Brisbane that he was in a state of shock and was struggling to think straight.

“We're not usually a family of superlatives, but I have to say this morning my vocabulary fails to convey just how shattered we are,” he said.

“You can never prepare yourself for something as painful as this.”

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said: “We're obviously shocked, dismayed, really bewildered by the decision of the court in Egypt.”

He said he had a “very constructive discussion” about Mr Greste over the weekend with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

“My understanding is that the Egyptian court system does work at arm's length from the government, but I do understand that once the court system has done its work, then there are options for presidential acts - presidential clemency, presidential pardons and so on - that's why I'm not in the business of being critical of the government,” Mr Abbott said.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: E-commerce Partnerships Manager

£50000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a newly-created partne...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Co-Ordinator - FF&E

£35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior FF&E Project Co-ordinator is re...

Recruitment Genius: Part Time Carer / Support Worker plus Bank Support

£10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A delightful, 11 year old boy who lives in t...

Recruitment Genius: Office Furniture Installer / Driver

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Furniture Installer /...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor