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Journalists protest at Egypt’s Nairobi embassy over detention of Al Jazeera staff

By Darren Boyle

Almost 100 journalists protested outside the Egyptian embassy in Nairobi to call for the immediate release of  two Al Jazeera reporters detained in Cairo.

Peter Greste and Mohammed Fahmy were arrested on 29 December from their hotel in the Egyptian capital.

Authorities in Egypt have arrested twenty journalists working for Al-Jazeera accusing them of either joining or aiding a terrorist group and jeopardising national security.

Robyn Kriel, co-chair of the local foreign correspondent’s association, delivered a letter to Egypt’s deputy ambassador.

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Kriel said today’s protest targeted Nairobi because Greste is normally based in the city.

Kriel said: “Peter is one of the most senior and well respected foreign correspondents in East Africa. He has covered every major news event in this region over the past ten years with dignity, humility and most of all integrity. 

“He is our friend, our colleague, our competition – we felt we had to do something, not only to protest the innocence of him and his team, but to voice our displeasure of the Egyptian government's treatment of any journalist in this manner.”

“He, Mohamed and Baher were arrested for doing their job, arrested for what we do every day as professional journalists. It is unacceptable, and the Kenyan foreign correspondents association, local media and civil society all agreed something had to be done.

“We didn't want this protest to be limited to Kenya either. So we launched a social media campaign, asking journalists to take photos of themselves gagged – by the Egyptian flag or their mouths taped shut. We asked them to share these pictures on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram under the #FreeAJStaff, to show the world and the Egyptian government that that if you gag one of us, you gag all of us.”

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