CAIRO: Egypt will put an Australian, two Britons and a Dutchwoman on trial for aiding 16 Egyptians belonging to a “terrorist organisation”, the public prosecutor said yesterday, describing the four as Al Jazeera correspondents.
Three of the Qatar-based television network’s journalists — Peter Greste, an Australian; Mohamed Fahmy, a Canadian-Egyptian national; and Baher Mohamed — were detained in Cairo on December 29 and remain in custody, Al Jazeera said.
The identities of the other foreigners mentioned by the prosecutor were not immediately clear.
In a statement, the prosecutor said the four had published “lies” that harmed the national interest and had supplied money, equipment and information to the 16 Egyptians. The foreigners were also accused of using unlicensed broadcasting equipment.
The 16 Egyptians are to face trial for belonging to a “terrorist organisation”, an apparent reference to the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been protesting against the government since the army toppled Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in July.
The government has declared the Brotherhood a “terrorist group”.
Two journalists from Al Jazeera Arabic and Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr, Abdullah Al Shami and Mohamed Bader, have been in detention for five months, according to Al Jazeera’s website.
Al Jazeera said its five detained journalists had not been officially informed of developments in their case. “The world knows these allegations against our journalists are absurd, baseless and false,” the broadcaster said in a statement. “This is a challenge to free speech, to the right of journalists to report on all aspects of events, and to the right of people to know what is going on.”