An Egyptian court this week sentenced three al-Jazeera journalists to long jail terms despite international outcry over the attack on the freedom of the press. To further guarantee that nobody would mistake this for a real court, the judge further accused them of being guided by the devil in their work as reporters. Australian journalist Peter Greste, Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fadel Fahmy and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed were convicted in June of aiding the Muslim Brotherhood by covering the “civil war” in Egypt. The court gave Greste and Fahmy seven-year terms and Mohamed a 10-year term. It also tried eleven defendants in absentia, including one Dutch and two British journalists. They were given 10-year sentences.
The Court insisted that the reporters “took advantage of the noble profession of journalism … and turned it from a profession aimed at looking for the truth to a profession aimed at falsifying the truth.” It then added that “The devil guided them to use journalism and direct it toward activities against this nation.” That “devil” work was reporting on the crackdown on the supporters of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.