Egypt sentences journalists for practising journalism

(Photo: Al-Jazeera)
(Photo: Al-Jazeera)

Once in the Catholic Church persecuted Galileo Galilei for his stands based on scientific discoveries, presumed witches were burned in public, leaders of Templars too, but none expected that great inquisition would be back in 21st century. It is back and on Monday Great Court of Inquisition in Egypt sentenced to seven years of jail three Al-Jazeera journalists for practising journalism. Sentences which were handed to Mohamed Fahmy who’s also Canadian citizen, Australian correspondent Peter Greste and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed. Mr. Mohamed received an extra three years in prison on separate charges.

These journalists are just pawns in the bigger story which goes between Qatari based multilingual channel and new “democratic” Egyptian government and it’s based on presumption and overall view that Al-Jazeera supports Muslim Brotherhood. This sentences even if Court and state decide to give a clemency and release Mr. Fahmy and his colleagues will remain a darkest stain on the face of Egypt. 

There is no concrete evidence that any of sentenced journalists committed any crime or collaborated with now banned and widely persecuted Muslim Brotherhood. All claims against them are just empty words used to tarnish credibility of their employer and to make population more favourable towards state owned and run media in the state which from dictatorship goes into another one instead towards democracy and open society.

Australian government immediately announced that they would do everything possible on the Earth to bring their citizen back to home and safety. Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop was among first to react on Mr. Greste sentence issuing long and strong statement.

“The Australian government is shocked at the verdict in the Peter Greste case. We are deeply dismayed by the fact that a sentence as been imposed. We are appalled by the severity of it. It is hard to credit that court in this case could have reached this conclusion. The Australian government simply can not understand it based on the evidence presented in this case. Peter Greste is a respected Australian journalist, he was not there to support the Muslim brotherhood. We respect the outcome of the recent elections in Egypt and will now initiate contact at the highest levels in the new Egyptian government to see whether we can gain some kind of intervention from the new government”, said Minister Bishop. 

On the other side beside numerous calls from people all over the world and from Canada, especially on social media reaction by Harper’s government was more than pathetic and inexcusable. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird haven’t spoke or issue statement , but his colleague and fellow MP Lynne Yelich (Minister of State) did and clearly didn’t came even close to the one from Australia’s Foreign Minister.

lynne yelich“Canada is very disappointed with the verdict in the case of Mohamed Fahmy and is concerned that the judicial process that led to his verdict is inconsistent with Egypt’s democratic aspirations. A fair and transparent legal system is a critical pillar of a future stable and democratic Egypt. Canada calls on the Egyptian government to protect the rights of all individuals, including journalists, in keeping with the spirit of Egypt’s new constitution and the desire of all Egyptians to build a fully democratic country”, said Yelich in her statement.

Egypt showed today that they will continue following the worst practices from other Arab nations when it comes to human rights, freedom of press and that no matter what they would prevent regime and it’s practices no matter what. Canadian government should take imminent action at the highest level to ensure that Mr. Fahmy would be released from jail as soon as possible and that he would be able to continue working in his honourable profession. If Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird can travel to Ukraine to fight for their rights and freedoms than life and rights of Canadian Citizen should be also reason to travel to Egypt and to have talks with his counterparts.

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