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What Egypt lost in the Al Jazeera trial

The sham sentences handed out to Al Jazeera journalists have done more damage to Egypt’s reputation than any propaganda cell could have.
Al Jazeera journalists (L-R) Peter Greste, Mohammed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed stand behind bars at a court in Cairo June 1, 2014. The trial of the three Al Jazeera journalists accused of aiding of a "terrorist organisation" has been postponed to June 6. The Qatar-based television network's journalists - Peter Greste, an Australian, Mohamed Fahmy, a Canadian-Egyptian national, and Baher Mohamed, an Egyptian - were detained in Cairo on December 29. All three have denied the charges, with Al Jazeera saying the a

Long before his name became synonymous with journalists being tried by kangaroo courts of oppressive regimes thanks to the Al Jazeera trial, I knew Mohamed Fadel Fahmy as one of Egypt’s best journalists and one of my good friends. We met back in 2007 when he was working for the Red Cross in Lebanon and Iraq, and, according to him, it was my tweets about the oncoming January 25 Revolution that got him to jump on a plane and come to Egypt in 2011, and he has stayed ever since.

Now he is in jail, facing a seven-year sentence alongside Peter Greste, Baher Mohammed and other defendants in what is referred to in Egypt as the “Marriot Cell trial.” Moody, as his friends would call him, is imprisoned on charges of being the ringleader of a Muslim Brotherhood cell that aims to tarnish Egypt’s image and reputation. But everyone knows that he is really in jail for working for Al Jazeera English right around the time the Egyptian regime wanted to settle scores with Qatar.

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