JournalismPakistan.com April 01, 2014
CAIRO: An Egyptian court on Monday turned down a plea for bail by jailed Al Jazeera journalists, who denied links with the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood.
The journalists, who have spent nearly 100 days in jail since their arrest, are charged with spreading false news and supporting the Islamist movement of the deposed president Mohammed Morsi. “Please, get us out of jail, we are tired. We’ve been suffering in prison,” Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, the Egypt bureau chief of Al Jazeera English, told the judges.
He and seven co-defendants, dressed in white prison uniforms, were briefly allowed out of a caged dock to address the court, which Fahmy’s lawyer, Khaled Abu Bakr, said was “an unprecedented move in the history of Egypt’s criminal courts”.
The Australian reporter Peter Greste, who is among the 20 defendants in the trial, also pleaded to be released on bail, telling the judges “we only desire at this point to continue to fight to clear our names outside prison”.
“We would like to emphasise that we are more than willing to accept any conditions that you impose on us,” he said.
Al Jazeera producer Baher Mohamed told the judges he wanted to be with his wife during her pregnancy. “My wife is pregnant and she visits me in jail with the children. It is exhausting,” Mr Mohamed said.
The judges adjourned the trial to April 10 without granting bail to any of the defendants.
Prosecutors insist that the Al-Jazeera journalists colluded with the Brotherhood, now designated a “terrorist” group, and falsely sought to portray Egypt in a state of “civil war”.
Eight defendants are in custody, and the rest are either on the run or abroad.
Greste and Fahmy, a Canadian-Egyptian, were arrested on December 29 in a Cairo hotel suite they used as a bureau after their offices were raided by police.
Monday’s hearing came a day after Egypt’s interior minister, Mohamed Ibrahim, accused an Al Jazeera editor of helping to leak classified intelligence documents, in a separate espionage trial involving Mr Morsi. - AFP
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