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Trial of jailed Al Jazeera journalists resumes in Cairo court

Three Al Jazeera journalists, jailed in Egypt since December, appeared in court for the 11th time on Thursday. The defense questioned evidence presented by the prosecution, which has alleged the journalists smeared the reputation of Egypt, aided terrorists, and doctored news footage.
By JC Finley   |   June 5, 2014 at 7:53 PM   |   Comments

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CAIRO, June 5 (UPI) -- The trial of three jailed Al Jazeera journalists resumed Thursday in Cairo.

Al Jazeera journalists Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed were arrested on terrorism charges in December, and have been detained since. The Egyptian police accused Al Jazeera English in Cairo of being a mouthpiece for the Muslim Brotherhood and using their broadcast location at the Marriott hotel as a meeting venue for Muslim Brotherhood members, an organization the Egyptian government has designated a terrorist group.

In court on Thursday, the defense restated its view that the trial is a farce and charged that prosecutors have yet to produce incriminating evidence. The defense revisited inconsistencies apparent in written and oral testimonies concerning the audio-visual evidence submitted by the prosecution.

To date, the prosecution has submitted as evidence videos that were not produced by Al Jazeera but by Sky News Arabia and the BBC, and one interview about sheep farming that prompted defense lawyer Khaled Abou Bakr to ask the judge during an April court appearance, "Can we put the sheep aside and bring what is relevant to the case? This is a waste of time."

The case of the three journalists has been portrayed around the world as an attack on press freedom, even prompting a social media campaign with the hash-tag #FreeAJStaff. But within Egypt, many feel the Arabic section of the al-Jazeera network has shown bias against the Egyptian government.

The trial was adjourned until June 16.

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