NUJ day of action called over Egyptian trial of Al-Jazeera journalists

The National Union of Journalists is planning a day of action in advance of the terrorism trials of four journalists in Egypt.

NUJ members will meet outside the Egyptian Embassy on Wednesday to call for the immediate release of all journalists detained by authorities.

Four Al Jazeera journalists are set to go on trial on Thursday and face up to 15 years in prison for covering the conflict in Egypt.

Peter Greste, Mohammed Fadel Fahmy and Baher Mohammed were arrested on 29 December 2013.

Their colleague Abdullah Al Shami has been detained since 14 August 2013 and is currently on hunger strike.

The International Journalists Federation has also held a number of events protesting against the press clampdown.

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “The situation facing journalists working in Egypt is dire. The arrests and brutal attacks are a deliberate attempt to silence journalists and prevent them from doing their job – giving citizens access to vital information and news. The trial of Al Jazeera English journalists, on ludicrous allegations of damaging national security, should be halted and all journalists immediately released. This repression of all journalists in the country, who are operating under outrageous pressure and intimidation, undermines press freedom in Egypt and calls into question the government’s attitude to basic human rights.”

According to Stanistreet, Egyptian authorities published a list of 20 journalists they accuse of aiding terrorists while covering the conflict.

One of those on the list is Al Jazeera’s Sue Turton, who previously worked for Sky News, ITN and Channel 4.

She said: “I am astounded that a warrant is out for my arrest because of my reporting in Egypt last year. I didn’t treat the situation there any differently to every other story I’ve reported on in almost 25 years as a TV reporter. I have no allegiance to any political group in Egypt or anywhere else and no desire to promote any one point of view.”

The protest will take place between 11.30-13.30 on 19 February outside the Egyptian Embassy: 

26 South Street

London W1K 1DW

(off Park Lane)

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