Defense lawyers for Al Jazeera journalists quit over ‘insult’ to Egypt
Al Jazeera journalists and correspondents during their work - AFP
By RANY MOSTAFA

CAIRO: At least two defense lawyers for the Al Jazeera journalists being tried on charges of inciting violence against Egypt have abruptly quit, accusing the Qatar-based news agency of putting its desire to take revenge against Egypt ahead of the freedom of the journalists, according to Youm7.

During Thursday’s court session, lawyer Farag Fathy, head of the defense team, announced that he and two other lawyers would no longer represent the reporters because Al Jazeera is “using his clients.”

“I have received emails from Al Jazeera telling me they don’t care about the defendants and care only about insulting Egypt,” Fathy told the court.

He also said Al Jazeera has fabricated his quotes and that its stance could negatively affect the legal position of the defendants, according to Al-Dostor.

“Al Jazeera uses the arrest of their staff to tarnish Egypt’s image,” Fathy said.

On Dec. 29, Egyptian security forces arrested Al Jazeera bureau chief Mohamed Fahmy, Australian correspondent Peter Greste and producer Baher Mohamed at the Marriott Hotel in Cairo.

They were accused of disrupting the rule of law, doctoring footage, aiding terrorism, broadcasting fabricated news and conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood to destabilize Egypt’s national stability. They, along with 17 other Al Jazeera employees are detained and being tried in “The Marriott Cell Case,” as it’s being called in the media.

Onaeg.com reported that only two lawyers actually quit, and they represented Greste and Mohammed. The abrupt resignation of the lawyers raised fears among the Al Jazeera reporters that it could hurt the defense’s case, according to Onaeg.

“The lawyers didn’t warn us ahead of the hearing of their decision,” Fahmy said from inside prison. “The lawyers’ actions made us look bad. We are angry.”

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