Senior Australian journalists Tracey Spicer, Hugh Riminton, Sophie McNeill and Marcus Strom delivered a joint statement in support of jailed Australian journalist Peter Greste to the Egyptian consulate In Sydney today.
Australian Al Jazeera English journalist Peter Greste and his colleagues, Al Jazeera English Cairo bureau chief Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy and Al Jazeera producer Baher Mohamed, have been detained by Egyptian authorities since December 29.
The three men were found guilty of spreading false news and supporting the Muslim Brotherhood last Monday and were sentenced to seven years in prison. Mr Fahmy was sentenced to a further 3 years for possession of ammunition.
“The verdict of the court, despite the lack of evidence and bizarre court proceedings over more than a dozen hearings, is an appalling attack on press freedom and carries an implicit threat to all media working in Egypt,” Ms Spicer said.
“We need to keep this on the front page,” she said.
The statement, signed by close to 100 media, freedom of expression and human rights advocacy groups from around the world, calls Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and authorities to immediately release the three Al Jazeera journalists and all journalists detained for their work.
The statement was prepared by the Canada-based freedom of expression organisation International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).
The statement and a petition by Amnesty International Australia with close to 150,000 signatures will be presented to the Egyptian embassy in Canberra.
By Tanya McGovern, Walkley Foundation intern