The Center for Defending Freedom of Journalists (CDFJ) on Saturday condemned the three-year prison sentence given to Al-Jazeera journalists, stressing that the center rejects such verdicts that contradict with the media freedoms.
A Cairo court on Saturday has sentenced three Al Jazeera journalists to three years in jail after finding them guilty of “aiding a terrorist organization.
In a statement issued following this announcement, CDFJ said: “we reject these verdicts as they are another attack on media freedoms”.
Nidal Mansour, CDFJ’s executive president said he was dismayed by the news, stressing that this verdict will affect Egypt’s image abroad and negatively impact media freedoms.
“We were hoping that today’s trial will be the end of this case and that the defendants would be freed,” Mansour said.
Egyptian Baher Mohamed, Canadian Mohamed Fahmy and Australian Peter Greste were all sentenced three-year jail sentences.
The journalists had been initially found guilty in June 2014 of aiding a “terrorist organisation”, a reference to the Muslim Brotherhood, which was outlawed in Egypt after the army overthrew President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.
The journalists were convicted and sentenced for between seven and ten years last summer, accused of terrorism and spreading false news intended to drag Egypt into civil war.
Greste was deported in February, while Fahmy and Mohamed released on bail.
Authorities then decided to place them on trial once again. In private, western diplomats and Egyptian officials had been signalling for months that the defendants could expect to be freed.