Al-Jazeera trial adjourned to May 22

CAIRO: Cairo Criminal Court adjourned Thursday the trial of 20 defendants, including four detained Al-Jazeera English reporters, to May 22 in the case known in the Egyptian media as the Marriott trial, to hear witness testimonies and the technical committee responsible for reviewing the seizures.

The prosecution charged the journalists with inciting violence against the Egyptian state and committing terrorist acts, in addition to accusations that include falsifying news on the Qatari-based network Al Jazeera.

The 20 defendants include four non-Egyptians, Australian citizen Peter Greste, British citizens Dominic Laurence and Susane Melanie, and Dutch citizen Rena Netjes, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported.

The trial witnessed an intensified media presence. Two members on the defense team withdrew from the trial, claiming that Al-Jazeera Mubasher was using the detainees’ case for propaganda.

One of the defendants told the lawyers that their withdrawal affects the case negatively.

Khaled Abu Bakr, one of the defendant’s lawyers, refused to defend the defendants unless the judges discuss his demands.

Bakr said the defense team asked for a copy of the CDs presented in the case, but was told they had to pay 1.2 million EGP to review the material. He said that the defense team should not have to pay such a figure since copying the CDs would cost only around 50 EGP.

Additional reporting by Amer Mustafa.

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