Al Jazeera slams Egypt's 15 year jail sentence for journalist Ahmed Taha

Al Jazeera slams Egypt's 15 year jail sentence for journalist Ahmed Taha
2 min read
31 May, 2022
Al Jazeera Mubasher presenter Ahmed Taha was sentenced to 15 years in prison by a Cairo court over an interview he conducted with jailed Egyptian politician Abdel Moneim Abul Fetouh in 2018.
Al Jazeera journalists have often been targeted by Egyptian authorities [Getty]

The Al Jazeera Network on Monday condemned the sentencing of Egyptian journalist Ahmed Taha to 15 years in prison, calling it an "unjustified" and "irrational" verdict.

Taha, a presenter for Al Jazeera Mubasher, was sentenced in absentia after his name was included in a case for "spreading false news".

Egypt frequently refers to non-government sanctioned media and critical news reports as "false news".

The pan-Arab network stated that Taha’s sentencing is part of "an ongoing campaign" launched by the Egyptian authorities against Al Jazeera and its journalists.

"Moreover, this verdict is an attempt to criminalise the profession of journalism that is protected by international laws put in place to facilitate the difficult and oftentimes dangerous work of journalists to convey news impartially and professionally," the statement added.

Four other Al Jazeera Mubasher journalists; Hisham Abdel Aziz, Bahaa El-Din Ibrahim, Ahmed Al-Najdi and Rabie Al-Sheikh remain detained without charge.

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The emergency court in Cairo on Sunday accused the presenter of conducting a February 2018 television interview with Abdel Moneim Abul Fetouh, a former presidential candidate who had previously been a leading figure in the Muslim Brotherhood.

Abul Fetouh, who went on to head the "Strong Egypt" party following his departure from the Muslim Brotherhood, was also sentenced to 15 years in prison on Sunday alongside the Brotherhood's acting leader Mahmoud Ezzat, among others.

The two leaders were imprisoned for "disseminating false news" and "incitement against state institutions".

Egypt has long been criticised by rights groups for imprisoning government opponents, including members of the Muslim Brotherhood, often on trumped-up charges of terrorism.

 

The Egyptian government also regularly imprisons journalists. Earlier this month, more than 50 journalists were reported to be behind bars, according to the Egyptian Network for Human Rights.

Egypt ranks among the worst countries worldwide for press freedom, featuring in the bottom 20 out of 180 countries, according to Reporters Without Borders.