NAIROBI, Feb 4 – Scores of supporters of Al-Jazeera journalists jailed in Egypt demonstrated on Tuesday in Kenya, the base of one of the detained reporters.
“Being a journalist is not a crime,” the crowd of around a 100 shouted outside the Egyptian embassy in Nairobi, in a peaceful protest watched over by armed police.
The detained journalists, who have been locked up for more than a month, include Peter Greste, an award-winning Australian reporter who previously worked for the BBC and who lives in the Kenyan capital.
“It’s been 37 days now… you are still in there, languishing in a prison for doing your job, for trying to get both sides of the story,” said Robyn Kriel, a reporter for South Africa’s eNCA television, and head of East Africa’s foreign journalists association.
“Journalism does not equal terrorism, you have committed no crime,” she added, in a letter read to Egyptian diplomats, as books were handed over for those in prison to read.
Rights group and the United Nations have expressed concern over a crackdown on the media by Egypt’s military-backed rulers, with 20 journalists working for Qatar-based international station Al-Jazeera television facing trial.
“We condemn the incarceration of our journalists in Egypt,” Al-Jazeera correspondent Mohammed Adow said.
“Let them go, they have done nothing wrong, they were only doing their job as journalists.”
Tom Rhodes of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said he feared for media rights in Egypt.
“CPJ is concerned that if such a crackdown is done on an international media house… what is the situation for local journalists?”