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Sunday, 31 May 2020

Al-Jazeera journalists to remain in detention as trial postponed

Ahram Online, Saturday 3 May 2014
Peter Greste
File Photo: Australian journalist Peter Greste of Al-Jazeera stand inside the defendants cage during their trial (Photo: Reuters)
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Views: 1755

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

The court adjourned the session to give time for defence lawyers to examine the evidence gathered against the defendants and to form their arguments.

The Saturday trial coincided with World Press Freedom Day.

During Saturday's session, Egypt's Journalists Syndicate sent a lawyer to defend Mohamed Fahmy, accused in the case. Fahmy welcomed the gesture.

The prosecution provided evidence that Fahmy 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.

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.

Of the 20 defendants charged in the case, only nine are Al-Jazeera journalists, according to the Qatari network. Eight of the defendants are in custody, with the rest being tried in absentia.

The court denied bail to the journalists several times.

In the previous court session 22 April, the court asked all other journalists to leave court and allowed the police to remove them forcibly when they refused. Only the families of the defendants, lawyers, and the Australian consul were permitted to stay.

Three of the defendants are on a hunger strike to protest their innocence, saying they were not working for Al-Jazeera when arrested.

Greste along with Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, Al-Jazeera English's bureau chief, and Baher Mohamed have been referred to in Egyptian media as the "Marriott cell," after the Cairo hotel in which they were arrested in December.

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