Yesterday morning Australians woke up to the news that award winning Australian journalist, Peter Greste, and his colleagues, held in appalling conditions in a Cairo jail since December 29, have been convicted and sentenced to 7+ years for 'fabricating news and tarnishing Egypt's reputation abroad' and 'airing misleading news' about Egypt.
The Egyptian Society of Australia (ESA) condemns the politicized sentences and this miscarriage of justice in the strongest of terms. ESA believes that the sentences handed out are politically inspired and are not the independent rulings of Egyptian judiciary. Therefore, the sentences handed out are a gross miscarriage of justice and provide an alarming sign of the future of the freedom of Press in Egypt.
As pointed out by the Middle East director for the Committee for the Protection of Journalists, Sherif Mansour, "These convictions are shocking, and an extremely disturbing sign for the future of the Egyptian press." The Chairman for the Egyptian Society of Australia, Mr Mohammad Helmy, said "The current Egyptian coup regime sentenced Mr Greste and his colleagues for "tarnishing Egypt's reputation", in actual fact, no one tarnished the reputation of Egypt more than the regime jailing journalists for doing their job."
ESA would like to stress to all Australians that the majority of Egyptians stand against this gross injustice against freedom of press and that many Egyptian journalists and correspondents are suffering similar or worst conditions than Mr Greste.
ESA joins international voices to call upon the Egyptian authorities to release Peter Greste and his Al Jazeera colleagues immediately and unconditionally.