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Free AJ Staff! Journalism is not a crime

Aug 22, 2014, 10:37 AM

We understand that lawyers for the jailed Al Jazeera journalists in Egypt on Thursday 21 August filed appeals against their convictions.

‘Al Jazeera journalists launch Egypt appeal’ is how Al Jazeera’s news release broke the news.

It added: “The weaknesses in the case have been widely protested and ridiculed, and much of the public criticism is reflected in the grounds for appeal.

“The case will next be heard before the Court of Cassation, which will examine the grounds for hearing a full appeal. A date for the hearing has not yet been set.

“Today’s submission to the court rests on the breaches of process in the case. These include:

• Flaws in the arrest procedure

• The fact that evidence presented in court did not marry with the charges

• Prosecution expert technical witnesses submitted statements which were somehow verbatim

• The journalists were accused of editing footage, but without originals, no one could have known whether they were in fact edited

• The judge’s verdict made mention of lack of accreditation, but this is not a criminal offence

“Al Anstey, managing director of Al Jazeera English, said, ‘The appeal will lay bare the flaws in the case against Peter, Baher and Mohammed. These are three outstanding journalists who were just doing their jobs, and journalism is not a crime. We look forward to them being exonerated in due course. We will not stop in this quest till they are reunited with their families, and back doing the jobs they love.’

“The campaign to free the three - Baher Mohamed, Peter Greste, and Mohammed Fahmy - received a further boost this week when leading international and human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin said they should be released, saying that the case was an example of how to set up a ‘kangaroo court.’ “

We are glad to join the popular global tv news network in spreading the word about the appeal, and happily associate ourselves with the contents of Al Jazeera’s news release above.

“Governments that block the aspirations of their people, that steal or are corrupt, that oppress and torture or that deny freedom of expression and human rights should bear in mind that they will find it increasingly hard to escape the judgement of their own people, or where warranted, the reach of international law”.

William Hague