Two Al Jazeera English journalists have been sentenced to seven years in jail and one to 10 years by an Egyptian court on charges including aiding the Muslim Brotherhood and reporting false news.
The guilty verdicts were announced by a judge on Monday against Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy, and Baher Mohamed.
Greste and Fahmy were sentenced to seven years in prison, while Baher Mohamed was sentenced to an additional three years for possession of ammunition. Mohamed was in possession of a spent bullet casing he had found on the ground during a protest.
Other Al Jazeera journalists who were tried in absentia, including Sue Turton and Dominic Kane, were sentenced to 10 years.
Al Jazeera has strenuously rejected the charges against its journalists and maintains their innocence.
Greste, Fahmy, and Mohamed were arrested in December in Cairo as they covered the aftermath of the army's removal of Mohamed Morsi from the presidency in July.
The prosecution said Greste, Al Jazeera's East Africa correspondent, and his Egypt bureau colleagues aided the Brotherhood and produced false news reports of the situation in Egypt.
The Brotherhood, which supported Morsi, was listed as a "terrorist" organisation by the interim Egyptian government shortly before the accused were arrested.
The prosecution produced a number of items as evidence including a BBC podcast, a news report made while none of the accused were in Egypt, a pop video by the Australian singer Gotye, and several recordings on non-Egyptian issues.
The defence maintained that the journalists were wrongly arrested and that the prosecution had failed to prove any of the charges against them.
o about the news channel that was podcasting them ?? how is that fair?
They got more than double the jail time of a police officer convicted of shooting people in the eyes.
I was laughing my AO when Kerry said, "Egyptian military was restoring democracy." Damn.. if this is democracy means to him... then I would simply say God Bless America. :)
Like this one from an AJ writer "Thousands have been arrested and hundreds sentenced to death, yet where is the condemnation of the undermining of the rule of law, and dismantling of fundamental rights? No such condemnation was forthcoming. Bizarrely, it appears that the position was seen as quite the opposite."
It took the Egyptians 30 years to get rid of one dictator. It will take them another 30 years to get rid of the new one. That is the way they want it. What can one expect from dictators? They must suppress the voice of the people to stay in power. The jailing of the 3 journalist is one such step in this direction. It is now a clash between the power of the gun and the power of the pen.
It's odd to see so many people around town talking about "free speech" and "freedom for journalists" as though Egypt has repressive laws compared to its neighbors.