Tuesday, August 19, 2014
By Alexandra Zakreski CJFE has learned from the family of Mohamed Fahmy that the imprisoned Egyptian-Canadian journalist will appeal the illegitimate guilty verdict against him. The Al Jazeera English Egypt Bureau Chief and his two colleagues, Australian Peter Greste and Egyptian Baher Mohamed, were arrested on December 29, 2013, and were convicted of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and producing false news on June 23, 2014. The three journalists were sentenced to between seven and 10 years in prison. While Greste and Mohamed had already announced their plans to appeal their convictions, Fahmy had previously expressed reluctance to put his faith in the same corrupt Egyptian judiciary that unjustly convicted him in the first place. Fahmy is being represented in his appeal by Amal Alamuddin and Negad el-Borai, both internationally renowned lawyers and experts on human rights and the Egyptian legal system. El-Borai has long been a defender of civil society and vocal critic of human rights violations in Egypt, while Alamuddin has represented clients at the European Court of Human Rights and the International Criminal Court, among others, and been appointed to numerous UN special commissions, tribunals and investigations. Alamuddin yesterday penned an opinion piece in The Huffington Post, “The Anatomy of an Unfair Trail,” within which she deconstructs the constituent elements of the show trial which convicted Fahmy, Greste and Mohamed, among them pre-existing “antiquated laws that criminalize ordinary (and necessary) speech.” Below, you will find some extracts from the appeal document to be submitted for Mohamed Fahmy tomorrow, August 20, 2014. On the lack of substantive evidence:
“The evidence court considered is illogical and incomprehensible. Court depended on lead investigator as a witness who based the whole case on Mohamed Fahmy and had nothing to support the accusations except [falsely] that he worked for Al Jazeera Mubasher—no mention of Al Jazeera English.”On the lack of due process:
“Defense requested on two hearings; April 22nd and May 15th from court to get copies of evidence. Prosecutor refused access, asked for 1.2 million Egyptian Pounds and ignored court. Defense was obstructed and never got access to CDs. This is an essential right for defense to view material [being presented against them].”On the bias of “technical experts” testifying for the prosecution about audio-visual evidence presented:
“On February 20th and March 5th, Fahmy’s defense requested a second expert other than State TV. Lawyer Abubakr requested an independent media professor from Cairo University to confirm the material abides by ethics of journalism and whether it has been fabricated or not.”CJFE continues to advocate for the release of Mohamed Fahmy, Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed, as well as the countless local journalists, bloggers, and press freedom advocates who continue to be unjustly detained in Egypt.
Alexandra Zakreski is CJFE's International Programs Assistant.
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