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Al-Jazeera journalists plead not guilty

Cairo:  Three journalists from al-Jazeera have denied all charges at the start of a trial in Cairo that has raised concerns about freedom of speech in Egypt. Egyptian-Canadian bureau chief Mohamed Fahmy, Australian reporter Peter
India TV News Desk February 21, 2014 12:30 IST
India TV News Desk
Cairo:  Three journalists from al-Jazeera have denied all charges at the start of a trial in Cairo that has raised concerns about freedom of speech in Egypt.

Egyptian-Canadian bureau chief Mohamed Fahmy, Australian reporter Peter Greste, Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed and five others were refused bail before the case was adjourned until 5 March.

They are among 20 people facing charges including joining or aiding a terrorist organisation - the Muslim Brotherhood.

The others are being tried in absentia.

The high-profile case — with journalists charged under anti-terror laws for the first time in Egypt — underlined the tug of war between the military-backed government and the Qatari-based network criticized for its coverage of the ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi and the crackdown against his Muslim Brotherhood.

Authorities accuse Al-Jazeera of acting as a platform for Morsi's supporters. The network denies that and says its journalists were only doing their jobs.

The Dec. 29 arrest of Al-Jazeera English's acting bureau chief Mohammed Fahmy, an Egyptian-Canadian; Australian award-winning correspondent Peter Greste and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed sparked an outcry from international media, rights groups and journalist advocacy organizations.