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25 June 2014

Statement by the Asia-Pacific Association of Press Clubs - Egypt Actions Unconscionable

At every level of the saga involving Peter Greste, Canadian-Egyptian bureau chief Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed 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.

It is not credible to suggest, as Egypt's President Al-Sisi has now done, that the court was independent, respected and beyond criticism.

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 influence in regional – and world – affairs.

The Asia-Pacific Association of Press Clubs deplores the treatment of these journalists and appeals to the Egyptian authorities to ensure, even at this late stage, a sensible and truly just outcome.

View the Statement by the Asia-Pacific Association of Press Clubs HERE