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Egyptian court denies bail to Al Jazeera journalists

Trial of the journalists adjourned until 10 April

Ahram Online, Monday 31 Mar 2014
Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste stands inside the defendants
Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste stands inside the defendants' cage in a courtroom during a trial on terror charges, along with several other defendants, in Cairo Egypt, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. (Photo: AP)
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A Cairo criminal court adjourned the trial of a number of Al Jazeera journalists, imprisoned on charges of aiding of being members of the Muslim Brotherhood, on Monday for the fourth time.

The court denied bail for the defendants for the second time, adjourning the trial to 10 April.

Of the twenty 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.

In Monday's session, one of the defendants, Shady Abdel-Hameed, said that the defendants were beaten for three days straight to "confess to things we didn't do."

Defendant Khaled Mohamed told the court that he, along with two other defendants, is on a hunger strike because of their mistreatment in detention.

The court ordered three defendants be referred to forensics to investigate their claims they had been beaten.

The judge also ordered the arrest of a police officer, who was supposed to deliver filmed material to the court, but failed to do so for the third week in a row.

Three of the defendants, Al Jazeera English journalists Peter Greste, Mohamed Fadel Fahmy and Baher Mohamed,have been in custody since late December, when they were arrested at a Cairo hotel.

Al Jazeera has dismissed the charges against its staff as "absurd" and "baseless" and has continued to call for their release.

Security forces shut down Al Jazeera’s Cairo offices following the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi on 3 July. Authorities accuse the network of giving favourable coverage to Morsi's Brotherhood movement.

Al Jazeera Arabic's Abdullah El-Shamy has been detained without charge since 14 August, and has been on hunger strike since late January, the media network said.

Australian reporter Greste is the only foreign defendant in detention. Two Britons, Sue Turton and Dominic Kane, and Dutch journalist Rena Netjes, who fled the country after being indicted despite not working for the channel, are currently abroad and are being tried in absentia.

 

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