Al Jazeera has rejected claims made by Egypt’s state prosecutors that its detained staff had confessed to joining the Muslim Brotherhood.
On Thursday, Egyptian state prosecutors said some of the al-Jazeera English reporters, who were detained last month, had confessed to being members of the Muslim Brotherhood, a group recently designated a terrorist organization by the Egyptian government.
In comments published on Daily News Egypt, the prosecutor’s statement said some of the defendants had “confessed during the investigations that they had joined the terrorist group [The Muslim Brotherhood]…[and] it has been proven that the defendants gathered and edited video material to re-create reports fabricating the situation in Egypt to tarnish the country’s reputation and delude international public opinion by saying that a civil war is going on in Egypt.”
Al Jazeera, which is based in Qatar, rejected these accusations, calling them “unusual” as the investigation is still ongoing.
“The prosecutor’s measure of issuing a statement like this is unusual, as it looks like a prejudgment on an ongoing investigation. Claims that anyone has ‘confessed’ are rejected by our journalists and legal team.”
The station’s Cairo bureau chief Mohammed Fahmy, Australian correspondent Peter Greste, producer Baher Mohammed, and cameraman Mohammed Fawzy were arrested on December 29, 2013 from the Marriott Hotel and have been in detention ever since.
The army-backed Egyptian authorities have been harshly cracking down on domestic and foreign media, as well as activists and political opponents, ever since the Muslim Brotherhood were declared a “terrorist organization” last month.
(Al-Akhbar, Daily News Egypt)