20 Journalists Facing Charges In Egypt


4 other foreign journalists are also accused alongside the 16 for allegedly assisting them or spreading false news.

The defendants include two Britons, a Dutch National and an Australian believed to be the Al-Jazeera correspondent Peter Greste.

The journalists were accused despite a plea by international news networks for their release.

The 16 Egyptian defendants face several allegations including belonging to a terrorist group, harming national unity and social peace, and using terrorism as a means to their goals.

The four foreigners are accused of collaborating with the Egyptians and providing them with information, equipment, and money as well as broadcasting false information and rumours to convince the international community that Egypt was undergoing a civil war.

Eight of the defendants are in detention, while 12 are on the run with arrest warrants issued against them, according to the prosecutor's statement.

"We only know of five people in jail," said Al-Jazeera's head of news gathering Heather Allen.

"We don't know about the full charge. Things are not clear at the moment. We are still waiting for clarity." she said

Greste's appeal against his detention without charge was denied on Wednesday by a Cairo court.

Greste was arrested in late December following the Interior Ministry accusations of illegally broadcasting from a hotel suite.

Greste was accused of collaborating with "terrorists" by talking to members of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been banned by the military-backed government.

Al-Jazeera Cairo Bureau Chief Mohammed Fahmy, who is Egyptian-Canadian, and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed are accused of the more serious offence of membership of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Two more of its staff – journalist Abdullah al-Shami and cameraman Mohammad Badr – were arrested in July and August.

Other news organisations, including the BBC, Sky and the Daily Telegraph newspaper issued a joint call for the immediate release of all journalists held in Egypt at a news conference on Wednesday.

By Beth Nyaga

Source: BBC News

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