Jailed journalists face terrorism charges
Senior media correspondents around the world have demanded that Egypt release a number of journalists, some of whom they say have been "detained arbitrarily" for more than five months.
In particular the international media has called for the immediate release of three journalists working for al-Jazeera English: Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed who were arrested on 29 December on charges of spreading "false news", using unlicensed equipment and being members of a "terrorist cell".
Fahmy, al-Jazeera English's Cairo bureau chief and Canadian citizen, was arrested in a raid on Cairo's Marriott Hotel along with Australian reporter Peter Greste, freelance producer Baher Mohamed and cameraman Mohamed Fawzy, who was released on 31 December.
Egyptian authorities accuse the journalists of holding illegal meetings with the Muslim Brotherhood – recently declared a terrorist group – and of establishing a media network aimed at "tarnishing Egypt's image abroad and harming its political position."
Al-Jazeera said the accusations "do not stand up to scrutiny" and that the reporters were operating within the country legally and had no affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood. It also says its network "has been subject to harassment by Egyptian security forces."
There has been a crackdown on the Islamist movement, including Islamist media, since the army's overthrow of former president Mohammed Morsi in July.
On 14-15 January over 98 per cent of Egyptian voters backed a referendum to rewrite the nation's constitution which was drafted largely by Islamists.