30 Jan 2014

Call for journalists in Egypt to be freed

9:50 pm on 30 January 2014

International news networks have joined together to call for the release of journalists held by authorities in Egypt.

Australian journalist Peter Greste.

Australian journalist Peter Greste. Photo: AL-JAZEERA

Twenty staff from the Al Jazeera television channel are facing charges of aiding a "terrorist organisation", said to be the Muslim Brotherhood.

Egypt's authorities have issued a statement saying 20 journalists have been referred to the criminal court system.

Those arrested include Australian Peter Greste who has been imprisoned for a month. He was arrested in Cairo on 29 December.

The 48-year-old is accused of broadcasting false information on the Al Jazeera network which suggests that Egypt is in the grips of civil war, the ABC reports.

The Egyptian authorities say 20 have been referred to trial; Al Jazeera says five of its employees are in custody.

The interim government in Egypt accuses Al Jazeera of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood - an organisation now defined officially as a terrorist group.

An appeal by Mr Greste against his detention without charge was denied on Wednesday by a court in Cairo.