Monday, 30 June 2014

A matter for His Excellency Dr. Hassan Hanafy Mahmoud El-Laithy to ponder upon, as it reflects the view of many Australians concerning Egypt, its government, judiciary and people

Statement by the National Press Club of Australia


The National Press Club of Australia deplores the treatment of Australian journalist Peter Greste, Canadian-Egyptian bureau chief Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed s and appeals to the Egyptian authorities to ensure, even at this late stage, a sensible and truly just outcome.

By any reasonable assessment the saga involving Peter Greste and his Al-Jazeera colleagues represents a gross miscarriage of justice that the Egyptian Government must overturn.
Throughout the trial, the actions of Egyptian authorities have been unconscionable.

In the extraordinarily extended “trial” not a shred of evidence was produced in support of the charges against the journalists.

There was nothing in the proceedings to suggest that the authorities had the slightest appreciation of the role of journalists and journalism in society, nothing to suggest an appreciation of the damage being done to Egypt’s standing in the international community.

In the wake of this verdict, the claim by Egypt’s President al-Sisi, that the court was independent, respected and beyond criticism, lacks all credibility.

That the former head of the military chose to make such a statement at a military graduation ceremony is an ominous portent.

President al-Sisi must use his power to overturn the penalties imposed on these journalists who were doing no more than their professional duties – and, from the evidence, doing it well.

A failure to act will seriously diminish Egypt’s reputation and influence in regional and world affairs.

ABN 59 208 238 583
STREET ADDRESS 16 National Circuit Barton ACT 2600
POSTAL ADDRESS PO Box 6184 Kingston ACT 2604
TELEPHONE (02) 61212199 FACSIMILE (02) 61212188

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