#FreeAJStaff: 'Global Day of Action' Held for Jailed Journalists

Published on
by
Common Dreams

#FreeAJStaff: 'Global Day of Action' Held for Jailed Journalists

Al Jazeera staff behind bars for over 100 days in Egypt in what many are calling 'trial of journalism itself'

by
Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer
Journalists gather outside BBC to call for freedom of Al Jazeera team in Egypt (Picture via Twitter / @BBCNewsPR)

Journalists gather outside BBC to call for freedom of Al Jazeera team in Egypt (Picture via Twitter / @BBCNewsPR)

People around the world took time out of their day on Monday to show support once again for four Al Jazeera journalists who have now been detained in Egypt for over 100 days.

In the second global day of action called by the Al Jazeera Media Network, supporters used the social media hashtag #FreeAJStaff on sites such as Facebook and Twitter to demand the release of journalists Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, who have been held in jail in Egypt for 100 days, and Abdullah al-Shami, who has been held for more than six months and has been on hunger strike since January 23.

The news network held a press conference in New York at the Paley Center for Media while multiple news outlets, press advocates, and supporters took part in the day of action—such as BBC News, who held a Journalist Safety Symposium and hosted a protest in London.

"Attendees taped their mouths and held signs that read 'journalism is not a crime,"' Al Jazeera reports.

Greste, Fahmy and Mohamed were arrested in their hotel in Cairo on Dec. 29 by Egyptian authorities and accused of spreading false news and belonging to a "terrorist group."

The journalists could face up to 15 years in prison in what many are calling a "trial of journalism itself." In total, 20 journalists are currently on trial in Egypt. Twelve of them are being tried in absentia. Nine are Al Jazeera employees.

"Mohamed, Baher, and Peter have now been behind bars in Egypt for 100 days for simply doing their job, and for carrying out the highest quality journalism," said Al Anstey, managing director of Al Jazeera English. "The charges against them are false and baseless, so there is no justification whatsoever in the detention of innocent journalists for such an outrageous amount of time. 

"We continue to call for their immediate release and for the release of our colleague from Al Jazeera Arabic, Abdullah Al Shamy, who has been behind bars for 236 days."

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