Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Peter Greste: 35 days Detained and Counting

Australian journalist Peter Greste and other staff form Al Jazeera English were arrested in Egypt on December 28 2013. They are now awaiting trial on highly dubious terrorism charges. I left this comment on the Guardian's latest story Peter Greste arrest footage is leaked as al-Jazeera denounces 'propaganda'

Gradually the amount of media coverage of this story has increased to the level it deserves. I am staggered, nevertheless, that there is no coordinated action campaign to pressure the Egyptian government to release the Al Jazeera staff and drop these charges.

I have sent the following email to the Egyptian Embassy in Canberra. Hope others will join me:

'I am writing to express my grave concern about the arrest and imprisonment of Australian journalist Peter Greste.

It is impossible not to agree with the sentiments of the UN Human Rights Commission:
UN high commissioner for human rights spokeswoman, Ravina Shamdasani, says the accusations are extremely vague.

"Aiding a terrorist group, harming the national interest - I think there was some mention of incitement as well - [are] very vague charges," she said.

"And this is very worrying because if you are going to bring charges of this sort you would at least need something very clear and transparent from the government, which we have not seen."
Mr Greste should be released form gaol immediately and charges against him and his colleagues should be dropped.

Egypt risks losing the goodwill of the international community during these difficult times.'

Their email address is: Embassy.canberra@mfa.gov.eg

This seems an appropriate cause for Amnesty International. Action is being taken today in Kenya where Peter Greste resides: Nairobi protest to demand release of Peter Greste and colleagues

The latest:

Lots of people, especially other journalists are doing their bit but it needs a real campaign. Peter's family are tweeting on his account: @PeterGreste Let's support them as we did Greenpeace's Colin Russell when he and his fellow activists were locked in Russian gaols.

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