24 Jun 2014

Egypt condemned for jailing Al Jazeera journalists

9:06 am on 24 June 2014

An Egyptian court has sentenced three Al Jazeera journalists to seven years in jail after finding them guilty on charges including helping a terrorist organisation by publishing lies, Radio New Zealand reports.

Australian Peter Greste, Canadian-Egyptian national Mohamed Fahmy - the bureau chief of Al Jazeera English - and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed all denied the charge of working with the now banned Muslim Brotherhood.

Baher Mohamed was given an extra three years for possessing a single bullet. Three other journalists who were tried in absentia were handed 10-year sentences.

The courtroom quickly descended into chaos as the verdict was read out. Shaken and near tears, Peter Greste's brother Michael said: "This is terribly devastating. I am stunned, dumbstruck. I've no other words."

US Secretary of State John Kerry has described the sentences as chilling and draconian.

The Australian government said it was appalled by the sentencing of Peter Greste and the family of the Australian journalist said it would appeal against the sentence.