Amnesty Intl calls for release of Egyptian journalists on military trial

Ahram Online , Tuesday 25 Feb 2014

Human rights advocacy group Amnesty International calls for the release of two journalists facing a military court for allegedly leaking El-Sisi interviews

Rights group Amnesty International on Tuesday urged Egyptian authorities to release two journalists currently facing a military trial.

In a statement published on Amnesty's website, the rights group condemned the trial of Amr El-Azaz and Islam Farahat, who will face a military misdemeanours court on 26 February for allegedly leaking classified documents and videos.

The alleged leaks concern parts of an interview with army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and daily newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm which were later published on the pro-Muslim Brotherhood website Rasd, where both El-Azaz and Farahat worked at the time. Also published on the site was another meeting that El-Sisi had with senior military officers.

Amnesty insisted that El-Azaz and Farahat are prisoners of conscience incarcerated for "peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression by performing their jobs," said Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa Programme Director Philip Luther.

Despite the outcry, Egypt's newly approved constitution allows military trials for anyone who reveals military documents or secrets. According to Amnesty, El-Azaz and Farahat are also accused of leaking 21 documents related to government’s plan in dealing with the Brotherhood.

Amnesty called for the release of the two journalists "immediately and unconditionally."

Farahat and El-Azaz were arrested last November. Proceedings against them were filed this week. 

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