British Foreign Secretary Criticises Detention of Journalists in Egypt

In statements made marking World Press Freedom Day, British Foreign Secretary William Hague condemned the detention of journalists in Egypt, including 20 Al-Jazeera staff whose trial resumed Saturday.

“I am deeply concerned by the harassment and detention of journalists in Egypt, including the twenty Al-Jazeera staff,” Hague said.

Hague also condemned other countries that he deemed as restricting to press freedoms, including Russia and separatists in Eastern Ukraine.

Cairo Criminal Court adjourned Saturday the case against 20 Al-Jazeera journalists to 15 May, without granting them bail.

The court has denied bail to the journalists several times.

Among the defendants are 16 Egyptians accused of joining a terrorist organisation — a reference to the Muslim Brotherhood, officially designated a terrorist group in December — as well as harming national unity and social peace.

The other four defendants, including Australian Peter Greste, of Al-Jazeera English, are charged with aiding a terrorist organisation.

The prosecution provided evidence that Mohamed Fahmy, one of the defendants, has been examined by a doctor for a shoulder injury sustained prior to arrest, and that he should have a total of 12 physical therapy sessions.

Head of Egypt’s Press Syndicate Diaa Rashwan last week demanded the release of all detained journalists. He also called on reporters to stop covering demonstrations that often turn into clashes between supporters of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and security, after several journalists were killed.

Source: Ahram Online