Journalists Hold Global Day of Action for Detained Al Jazeera Staff
#FreeAJStaff sparks social media protest
Journalists around the world took part in a global day of action Thursday in solidarity with a group of Al Jazeera journalists who have been imprisoned in Egypt, accused of terrorism, and scheduled to stand trial on March 5.
The journalists could face up to 15 years in prison for what many say was the simple act of reporting on the actions of the Egyptian state.
Journalists Peter Greste, Mohamed Fadel Fahmy and Baher Mohamed pleaded not-guilty in a Cairo court last week in the case which has been described as a "trial of journalism itself." The three were detained in December in Egypt among a group of 20 journalists facing similar charges related to the case. Nine of those journalists work for Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera Arabic’s Abdullah Elshamy has been detained without charge since 14th August 2013, and has been on hunger strike in protest since 23rd January. Two others, Abdullah Al-Shami and Mohammed Badr, have been detained in Egypt since last year. Three others will stand trial absentia.
Al Jazeera organized a massive online campaign calling for the Egyptian state to free the prisoners, spawning the global day of action Thursday.
Protesters gathered in roughly 30 cities across the world including Sydney, Manila, Islamabad, Doha, Amman, Nairobi, Ankara, Berlin, London, Rio, Toronto, Washington DC and San Francisco, posting pictures of their demonstrations using the #FreeAJStaff hashtag on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr in a 2pm GMT "thunderclap."
— Rami (@Ramisms) February 27, 2014
"Al Jazeera hopes through the attention of the world’s media and partners, pressure can be brought to bear on the Egyptian authorities to hasten the release of Peter Greste, Mohammed Fahmy, Baher Mohamed and Abdullah Al Shamy by reminding them in a united voice, that journalism is not a crime," the media network said on Wednesday.