Officials of media institute for Southern African MISA Malawi Chapter are expected to petition the Egyptian Embassy in Malawi in demand for the release or review of the sentences that the Egyptian court metted on three Al Jazeera journalists.
This is in reaction to the Egyptian court that sentenced the three journalists to seven years in prison each on terrorism-related charges.
These include Al Jazeera Australian correspondent Peter Greste, Canadian-Egyptian acting Cairo bureau chief Mohammed Fahmy, and Egyptian producer Baher Mohammed were found guilty and sentenced early this week. Mohammed was sentenced to three extra years in prison on separate charges.
The three were arrested in December as part of a sweeping crackdown on Islamist supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi.
The trio were accused of supporting Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, which the authorities have declared a terrorist organisation. They also faced charges of fabricating footage to undermine Egypt’s national security and make it appear the country was facing civil war. The prosecution offered little evidence to back up the charges against them.
In an interview MISA Malawi Chairperson Anthony Kasunda said the move to petition the Egyptian Embassy in Malawi is a solidarity action against the three jailed journalists.
“As a southern Africa media watchdog, we stand in solidarity with our fellow Al Jazeera journalists who have been jailed in Egypt. In the petition we at least demand for the downward review of the sentences or presidential pardon of our journalist friends” said Kasunda.
Kasunda said the full program on the petition will be announced soon and that MISA Malawi is working in solidarity with other media watchdog institutions in Africa on the matter.