Egypt’s sentencing of Al Jazeera English reporters to prison draws scorn – Los Angeles Times

Rights groups, freedom of the press advocates, family members and supporters expressed dismay Saturday after an Egyptian court sentenced three journalists for the broadcaster Al Jazeera English to prison terms of at least three years.

The case has been viewed by many as emblematic of a wave of repression — much of it at the hands of the judiciary and law-enforcement officials — that has followed Islamist President Mohamed Morsi’s removal from office by the Egyptian military more than two years ago. The three journalists were accused of aiding Morsi’s now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and spreading false news.

One of the trio, Australian correspondent Peter Greste, was sentenced in absentia, having been deported to his homeland in February after Egypt’s highest court granted the journalists a retrial. Canadian Mohammed Fahmy, who had renounced his Egyptian citizenship in hopes of deportation, and producer Baher Mohammed, an Egyptian, were again taken into custody after the verdict.

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In Qatar, the journalists’ employer called the ruling inexplicable.

“Today’s verdict defies logic and common sense,” said Mostefa Souag, Al Jazeera’s acting director. “The whole case has been heavily politicized and has not been conducted in a free and fair manner.”

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