Qatar-Egypt: Al Jazeera journalists should be freed, RSF says

Following last weekend’s visit to Cairo by the emir of Qatar to meet with Egyptian President
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) points out that four journalists with the
Qatari TV broadcaster Al Jazeera are still being held by the Egyptian authorities and should be
freed.

“We reiterate our call for the release of the four Al Jazeera journalists imprisoned in Egypt,” said Sabrina Bennoui, the head of RSF’s Middle East desk. “All have been paying for the political rivalry between the two countries for too long and have no place being in prison.”

 

The four journalists – Rabie El-Sheikh, Ahmed El-Nagdy, Bahaa Ed-Din Ibrahim and Hesham Abdel Aziz – have been detained preventively since August 2021, August 2020, February 2020 and June 2019 respectively on charges of “membership of a banned group” and “spreading false information.”

Their real crime was simply working for Al Jazeera, a TV channel based in the Qatari capital, Doha, whose reporting was regarded as favourable to the Muslim Brotherhood. After Gen. Sisi seized power in Egypt in a coup in 2013, the Muslim Brotherhood was declared a terrorist organisation and Al Jazeera was banned.

Egypt cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar in 2017, as did its Gulf allies – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Dialogue was restored in early 2021 and Al Jazeera was allowed to resume operating and broadcasting its programming in Egypt.

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