This is the evidence on which Egyptian authorities have imprisoned journalist Peter Greste for seven years. You be the judge on whether it “spreads false news” and “supports the Muslim Brotherhood,” as the court found.

This is a documentary Greste made for BBC Panorama in 2011, about the chaos and dysfunction of war-torn Somalia. It was aired in a Cairo court recently as evidence for the prosecution against Greste, who now works for Al Jazeera (other videos and pictures were also shown). Crikey watched the full BBC documentary to see the nature of the evidence against the Australian journalist.

The 29-minute documentary shows the dangers of everyday life in the capital Mogadishu as militant Islamists wage war to take over the region. Greste tried to film this documentary in 2005, but his producer was shot and died. He returned alone to finish the project, in a country almost all journalists avoid.

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Accompanied by armed guards and mostly wearing body armour and a helmet, Greste copes with gunfire and mortar attacks to tell this story. He revisits the hospital in which his colleague died of her wounds, as seen in the still below.

Greste is embedded with African Union troops fighting the Islamists, interviews the then-deputy prime minister, and talks to refugees. He does not interview any Islamist militants and the documentary is not sympathetic to their cause — he refers to them as the “new enemy” who are waging a “bitter campaign,” creating a “devastated war zone”. Egyptian prosecutors accuse Greste of supporting Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. Ironically this documentary shows the horrors created by Islamist militants elsewhere.

The BBC documentary is in three parts on Youtube. Watch part 1 here, part 2 here, and part 3 here.

This video was also aired in the Egyptian court as evidence against Greste:

It’s the music video from Belgian-Australian singer Goyte’s hit Somebody That I Used to Know. The song is about a man who splits up with his girlfriend and is upset when she cuts off all contact. It has nothing to do with Greste, Al Jazeera or Egypt.

The court was also shown photographs of Greste’s parents holidaying in Latvia and Germany. A package from Sky News Arabia on horse welfare in Egypt was aired as evidence for the prosecution. Video was shown from Greste’s main job, Al Jazeera’s Kenya correspondent (he was only in Egypt as a fill-in).

After these and other irrelevancies, the court was shown video from Greste reporting for Al Jazeera in Egypt. Crikey hasn’t been able to work out which clips were shown in court — we’ll update the story when we can — but here are two from Greste to give you an idea of his work.

This is Greste’s report from the streets of Cairo on an anti-government protest on December 27, shortly before he was arrested. Crikey got hold of the footage and has uploaded it to Youtube (see below). The package shows people marching in the street and includes quotes from them; “[the government] want to rule us with force, with guns,” one says. The video shows police taking on the protesters, and Greste asks whether the police will make arrests. Greste suggests that if the government is trying to bolster state security via this “crackdown”, it may backfire. This video comes across as a straight news report on an anti-government protest.

And this is Greste’s last report before he was arrested. He talks to camera about the situation in Cairo, about a growing sense of unease and disorder. He talks about the government charging dissenters. Greste says the government is putting pressure on the courts to hand out maximum sentences of five years. “It does look pretty draconian and the courts may in fact back away from that,” he says.

Greste would have had no idea at the time that media reports like that would earn him an even more draconian prison sentence.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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