Al Jazeera says it has been “overwhelmed” by calls for its journalists to be released and “the Egyptian authorities would be well advised to take heed.”
Commenting on the statement issued by the Egyptian prosecutor’s office regarding the Al Jazeera English journalists they are detaining, Al Jazeera spokesperson Osama Saeed said, “The accusations against our journalists do not stand up to scrutiny. Our detained team had been working in Cairo for some time and people can still watch their work online. It was all of the highest journalistic standards and integrity, as has been all out output since the start of the momentous events in Egypt three years ago.
“The prosecutor’s measure of issuing a statement like this is unusual, as it looks like a prejudgment on an ongoing investigation. Claims that anyone has ‘confessed’ are rejected by our journalists and legal team,” he said.
Mohamed Fahmy – an Egyptian-Canadian, Al Jazeera’s Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed and Australian correspondent Peter Greste have been held in the notorious Tora Prison in separate cells for weeks without formal charge. Al Jazeera colleagues from sister stations – Abdullah al-Shami and Mohammed Badr – have been imprisoned for five months.
The arrests of Fahmy, Mohamed, and Greste on 29 December were made to preserve Egypt’s “national security and the highest interests of the country”, the prosecutor’s office said.