CAIRO: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s Wednesday pardon of two Al-Jazeera Journalists ahead of his visit to the United Nations General Assembly next week was welcomed by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Al-Jazeera Public Relations office, which also called for more press freedom.
Journalists Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed have reportedly been released per the pardon. Australian Peter Greste, who was deported in February, was not included in the pardon, but his lawyer Mostafa Nagy told The Cairo Post he would seek a pardon soon.
Al-Jazeera called for dropping charges against seven other journalists convicted in absentia the case known locally as the “Mariott Cell.”
“They may not be behind bars, but their families and careers have been affected immeasurably. We urge the Egyptian authorities to quash their cases and let them too get on with their lives,” Al-Jazeera said, regretting the nearly two years that Fahmy, Mohamed and Greste had to spend jailed despite being “guilty of nothing except journalism.”
Meanwhile, CPJ called for releasing at least 18 other journalists in Egyptian prisons, including Photojournalist Mahmoud Abou Zeid, known as Shawkan, who continues to be locked up after spending two years in prison without a trial.
“Egypt can begin tackling its shameful record of press freedom by releasing all journalists imprisoned for their work in the country,” CPJ said.