Network calls verdict ‘irrational’ and part of a campaign by Egyptian authorities ‘against Al Jazeera and its journalists’.
Al Jazeera Media Network presenter, Ahmed Taha, has denounced as “lacking logic” the decision by an Egyptian court to sentence him 15 years in jail in absentia.
Taha said the ruling is insulting for those who issued it, not to journalists.
“This sentence is not against me; it’s against Al Jazeera Network, against press freedom and journalists in Egypt,” Taha told Al Jazeera in a TV interview on Tuesday.
An Egyptian court had sentenced Taha to 15 years in jail for “spreading false news” over a 2018 interview with Abdul Moneim Aboul Fotouh, a leading opposition figure and former presidential candidate.
Al Jazeera had condemned what it called the “irrational verdict”, describing it as an “attempt to criminalise the profession of journalism”.
“The Network asserts that the Cairo Criminal Court’s decision represents yet another disgrace for the legal and judiciary system in Egypt and that the decision has no legal foundation,” Al Jazeera said in a statement.
The network also renewed the call for releasing four of its journalists who have been detained in Egypt.
“Al Jazeera Media Network also reiterates its demand for the release of the four Al Jazeera Mubasher journalists, who are currently detained in Egypt without any charges (Hisham Abdel Aziz, Bahaa El-Din Ibrahim, Ahmed Al-Najdi and Rabie Al-Sheikh),” it said.
“It calls on all international press freedom organizations to condemn their arbitrary detention and demands their immediate release.”