Al Jazeera English says it is disappointed that three of its journalists being held in Egypt were not released from prison after their trial was adjourned until 24 March.
“We are again disappointed that Mohamed Fahmy, Peter Greste, and Baher Mohamed were not released from prison today. The charges against our staff are without any substance and totally unjustified; we refute all the allegations labeled against our colleagues. Mohamed, Peter, and Baher are world-class journalists and were simply doing the job of journalism, covering and challenging all sides of the story in Egypt,” said Al Anstey, managing director of Al Jazeera English, in a statement.
“To continue to keep them behind bars after such a long time in detention is simply outrageous, so we continue to call for their immediate release. The trial in Egypt is a trial of journalism itself, so we remain resolute in calling for freedom of speech, for the right for people to know, and for the immediate release of all of Al Jazeera’s journalists in detention in Egypt,” he added.
CNN reported on what it said was “a bizarre and confused proceeding”. It said a lead investigator took the stand as the state’s first witness but refused to answer several questions, saying he could not divulge a secret government source and even told the court he could not remember certain details of his investigation.
Mohamed, Peter and Baher have been detained since 29 December 2013 while Al Jazeera Arabic’s Abdullah El Shamy has been detained without charge since 14 August 2013, and has been on hunger strike in protest for four weeks.
The hashtag #FreeAJStaff has been viral worldwide, while institutions including the White House, European Union and the United Nations have called for the release of the journalists, and for press freedoms to be upheld.