Wadah Khanfar writes: Peter Greste, of the al-Jazeera English television network, has been released after 400 days of detention in Egyptian prisons. I am delighted. The detention of the three al-Jazeera journalists is a blatant example of the deterioration of press freedom in the country.
They were arrested while conducting their professional duties, but the court imprisoned them for allegedly spreading lies and distorted the image of Egypt.
Our happiness following the news of Greste’s release, however, remains incomplete. The other two journalists are still in detention. It has been reported that Mohamed Fahmy, who has dual nationality, has been asked to denounce his Egyptian citizenship so he may be deported to Canada; the third journalist, Baher Mohamed, has no foreign nationality and has still been given no prospect of release.
The court’s discrimination in dealing with him was evident from the very beginning. While his two colleagues were sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment each, the court singled Mohamed out for 10 years. In fact, the detention of Egyptian journalists has now become customary – in a climate of repression and restrictions that did not exist even during the era of the former dictator Hosni Mubarak. [Continue reading…]