"Egypt cannot be allowed to normalize its international relationships so long as it continues to jail journalists," the Committee to Protect Journalists said Monday after three Al Jazeera journalists were sentenced to up to 10 years in prison for conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood. Separately, journalists from major news outlets have called for their pardon.
Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed were arrested six months ago. Also convicted in absentia, according to CPJ, were Al-Jazeera English presenter Sue Turton, Al-Jazeera reporter Dominic Kane and Rena Netjes, a correspondent for Dutch Parool newspaper.
CPJ says that Egypt now has 14 journalists in prison, making it one of the most repressive regimes in that regard.
A number of journalists, including ones from CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC and the BBC, have written new Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi asking that the three journalists, whose resumes collectively also include The New York Times and CNN, be pardoned.
"We understand the vital importance of judicial independence. Regardless of the specific allegations, we also believe that the punishment of the three journalists would have a gravely harmful effect on freedom of expression and the free press values celebrated in Egypt’s new constitution and around the world," they wrote.
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