Australian journalist Peter Greste has been jailed for seven years by an Egyptian court after being found guilty of a handful of nebulous crimes, including "possession of printouts and recordings" to give the impression Egypt is fighting a civil war, and producing fake news stories.
Rachel Williamson has a recap of the case today, but Cathy Alexander also takes a look at the evidence on which Egyptian authorities have jailed Greste -- his BBC Panorama doco on war-torn Somalia, and a selection of his Al Jazeera footage, some of which was aired by the prosecution in court. The footage speaks for itself: Greste’s conduct as a journalist is professional and fair.
But as Australian-Egyptian journalist (and Crikey
media reporter) Myriam Robin points out, this trial was never really about Greste’s journalism -- it was a political move designed to silence Al Jazeera, an organisation that is seen as pro-Muslim Brotherhood by large parts of the Egyptian population.
And of course while there has been widespread international condemnation of Greste’s sentence, including from Australia and the US, Robin also reminds us that the United States has quietly sent $572 million in military aid to Egypt in the past fortnight -- the first release of some $1.5 billion worth of military goods withheld from Egypt since October.