Sanef shocked by conviction of Al Jazeera JournosDate Released: Wed, 25 June 2014 10:16 +0200
Sanef Media Statement : June 23 2014
The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef), a member of The African Editors Forum (TAEF), is shocked at the treatment of Al Jazeera journalists in Egypt, where three were sentenced to jail sentences ranging from seven to ten years today. What started off as the dawn of the Arab spring has turned into a nightmare where freedoms of Egyptian people are treated with disdain by the ruling military aligned government.
Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed were arrested in Cairo in December last year while covering the aftermath of the coup that deposed the democratically elected president of Egypt, who is himself now in prison and standing trial. Mohamed’s sentence was increased by three years for possessing ammunition, which was a spent bullet he picked up at the demonstrations.
They were accused of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, which has since been banned, and of publishing falsehoods. They all denied the allegations. Other journalists were tried in absentia and also sentenced. Only last week more than 180 activists were sentenced to death.
The sentencing of the journalists comes as African leaders gather in Equitorial Guinea for a summit of heads of state and governments. Sanef calls on the African Union Commission, under the leadership of Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to ensure that the summit condemns the sentencing of the journalists and to suspend Egypt’s participation in the AU until it observes AU principles and protocols.
Sanef also calls on TAEF to embark on continent-wide protests against this heinous act by the Egyptian government.
For further comment please contact
Mpumelelo Mkhabela Sanef Chairperson+27 82 296 2541
Adriaan Basson Chairperson Media Freedom Sub Committee +27 82 562 2113