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Al Jazeera condemns Egypt blacklisting of its journalists as terrorists

July 26, 2023 at 2:02 pm

Prisoners are seen during a court case in Cairo on 28 July 2018 [Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images]

Al Jazeera has condemned Egypt’s blacklisting of some of its journalists as alleged terrorists, amid Cairo’s continued crackdown on journalists within the country who do not conform to authorities and their narrative.

In a statement yesterday, Al Jazeera announced that, following a ruling by the Cairo Criminal Court, some of its Egyptian journalists and presenters had been added to a list of alleged terrorists, published in an official Egyptian newspaper earlier this month.

The media network stated that it “strongly denounces the recent move by the Egyptian authorities to reinstate a number of its journalists onto a newly crafted terrorism list”, calling for the release of two reporters. Bahaa Al-Din Ibrahim was arrested in February 2020 and Rabee Al-Sheikh was arrested in August 2021, both while returning to Egypt to visit their families.

The exact number of journalists added to the terrorism blacklist – updated every five years – was not revealed or specified, but was referred to in the statement only as “a number” of them.

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Following the 2013 military coup in Egypt, authorities led by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi have conducted a crackdown on journalists throughout the country who are critical of and unaligned with the government’s narrative, and that has prominently included journalists of the Qatari Al Jazeera network.

Since then, Cairo has revoked the organisation’s media credentials, raided its offices and arrested numerous correspondents and reporters, including three Al Jazeera English journalists – Australian Peter Greste, Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed – who each received 10-year prison sentences, but were released in 2015.

The situation has eased somewhat following the restoration of diplomatic ties between Egypt and Qatar in 2021, with Cairo releasing an Al Jazeera journalist in May this year who had been detained since 2019. The continued arrests and detention of several journalists, however, have remained a sticking point in the full manifestation of those restored relations.

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