Skip to main content

Al Jazeera demands release of journalists still held by Egypt

By Tom Watkins, CNN
January 2, 2014 -- Updated 1918 GMT (0318 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Four Al Jazeera journalists were arrested, the network said
  • Al Jazeera calls the arrests "arbitrary," slams "harassment" of network
  • The Egyptian government says at least one journalist met with Muslim Brotherhood members
  • The government recently declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization

(CNN) -- The Egyptian government released on Tuesday one of four Al Jazeera journalists it had detained Sunday night, but continued holding the other three employees of the news network, which is demanding their release.

Correspondent Peter Greste, producer Mohamed Fahmy, producer Baher Mohamed and cameraman Mohamed Fawzy were taken into custody Sunday evening in Cairo, the network said.

Fawzy was released Tuesday morning; the other three men remained in detention and appeared Tuesday before magistrates, Al Jazeera reported.

The Egyptian Interior Ministry said on its Facebook page that security forces arrested a Muslim Brotherhood member and an Australian journalist at a Cairo hotel. Greste, an Australian, previously worked for CNN, Reuters and the BBC.

Fahmy worked for CNN and The New York Times prior to joining the Qatar-based network; Mohamed is a Cairo-based producer for the network.

The ministry said the Muslim Brotherhood member used the hotel to meet with other members and as a media center to broadcast damaging news about the government for Al Jazeera.

"It is outrageous to be treating bona fide journalists in this way," said Al Anstey, managing director of Al Jazeera English, in a statement. "The allegations that are being made are totally false and unfounded. We operate in Egypt legally, the team were working on a number of stories to show our viewers around the world all aspects of the ongoing situation in the country, and every member of our team has huge experience carrying out the highest quality journalism with integrity."

Calling the arrests arbitrary, Al Jazeera said the network "has been subject to harassment by Egyptian security forces," including having its equipment confiscated and offices raided, despite the network not being banned from working in Egypt.

The arrests occurred the day before the Committee to Protect Journalists issued a report saying Egypt, Syria and Iraq have become the deadliest countries for journalists. Seventy journalists were killed in 2013, with six of those deaths in Egypt, the CPJ said.

Egypt's current round of political turmoil began on July 3, when President Mohamed Morsy was ousted in a military coup.

Last week, the military-backed government declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization. Police and members of the Muslim Brotherhood have clashed in the streets since then.

CNN's Josh Levs and Ralph Ellis contributed to this report

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Egypt
Visit CNN Arabic for full election news and updates in Arabic.
May 26, 2014 -- Updated 1650 GMT (0050 HKT)
CNN's Reza Sayah explains Egypt's presidential election.
May 26, 2014 -- Updated 1655 GMT (0055 HKT)
Minute changes by Egypt's next leader may not be sufficient to bring genuine stability, writes H.A. Hellyer.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 0359 GMT (1159 HKT)
Supporters of Egyptian leftist presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi (portrait) attend a campaign meeting in Cairo.
Both presidential candidates have made lofty promises. But has either offered specifics on how the economy?
June 8, 2014 -- Updated 0806 GMT (1606 HKT)
CNN's Reza Sayah profiles the leading contender in Egypt's presidential election, ex army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 0809 GMT (1609 HKT)
Hamdeen Sabahi is considered a heavy underdog in the race for Egypt's presidency, but he's sure he's going to win.
May 21, 2014 -- Updated 2208 GMT (0608 HKT)
A court in Cairo sentences ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to three years in prison for embezzlement.
May 22, 2014 -- Updated 1722 GMT (0122 HKT)
An Egyptian man waits for tourists to take them on camel rides at the Giza pyramids on the outskirts of Cairo on February 14, 2011.
Instead of focusing on antiquities, Egypt's new "We miss you" video features dancers, malls and ritzy hotels.
May 8, 2014 -- Updated 1514 GMT (2314 HKT)
Former Arab League head Amre Moussa says presidential favorite Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is right to stand up to "terrorists."
May 8, 2014 -- Updated 1250 GMT (2050 HKT)
Can music heal the rift of revolution and conflict in Egypt? CNN's Reza Sayah meets the Egyptian band trying.
May 6, 2014 -- Updated 2120 GMT (0520 HKT)
Egypt's former military chief doesn't mince words when he describes what would happen if he wins the presidency.
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 0937 GMT (1737 HKT)
Are threats of sexual violence an everyday reality for women in Cairo?
March 24, 2014 -- Updated 1641 GMT (0041 HKT)
Interim Egyptian President Adly Mansour sends letter to the family of jailed Al Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy.
March 9, 2014 -- Updated 1630 GMT (0030 HKT)
CNN's Sara Sidner talks about stepping in for Al Jazeera reporters since they have been barred from working in Egypt.
March 15, 2014 -- Updated 1134 GMT (1934 HKT)
How are the Arab Spring nations faring? What successes can they boast and what challenges await?
ADVERTISEMENT