Skip to main content

Jailed Al Jazeera journalists denied bail, deny Muslim Brotherhood links

By Ian Lee, Heba Fahmy and Jason Hanna, CNN
updated 4:28 PM EDT, Mon March 31, 2014
  • Journalists were arrested December 29 at a Cairo hotel
  • The three are being held on terrorism-related charges
  • They deny charges, saying they were simply doing their jobs
  • The trial has drawn international condemnation from human rights groups

Cairo (CNN) -- An Egyptian court on Monday again denied bail to three Al Jazeera journalists who are jailed on terrorism-related charges in a case that has drawn international condemnation from human rights groups.

Correspondent Peter Greste, producer Mohamed Fahmy and producer Baher Mohamed were allowed outside a caged dock to address the court in a hearing Monday, each taking the opportunity to deny allegations that they were affiliated with the banned Islamist group Muslim Brotherhood.

The three were arrested December 29 at a Cairo hotel room and later charged with joining what the government says is a terrorist group -- the Muslim Brotherhood -- as well as broadcasting false information and working in Egypt without permits.

The Egyptian government says they distorted their coverage in favor of ousted President Mohamed Morsy and the Muslim Brotherhood. The accused have denied the allegations against them, saying they were simply doing their jobs.

Egypt official defends charging journalists
Journalists in cages
Journalists rally for jailed colleagues
Al Jazeera correspondent speaks out

Fahmy told the court that he and his colleagues worked in public rather than in secrecy, and covered Egypt as they would other countries. He questioned how any journalist could be labeled a terrorist.

Their lawyers also took up the issue of Fahmy's health. Fahmy, a former CNN producer, injured his shoulder before his arrest in December while working as bureau chief for Al Jazeera English in Cairo.

He has complained about not getting proper medical treatment while in prison and says that because of the lack of treatment, he no longer has full use of his right arm.

On Monday, the defense team asked that Fahmy have his shoulder operated on at a hospital. Earlier this month -- nearly three months after his arrest -- he was taken to a civilian hospital for the first time for a shoulder scan.

Baher told the court Monday that his wife was in the final stages of pregnancy and he wanted to see his child when he was born. Greste said that he and his colleagues posed no threat or danger inside the country or outside.

Human rights groups have criticized the trial, saying the arrests indicate authorities in Egypt are stifling dissent and freedom of the press.

The case comes amid a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood after the military's overthrow of Morsy, Egypt's first democratically elected president, in July. Morsy, who had been a Muslim Brotherhood leader, was ousted after mass protests against his rule.

Morsy was elected in 2012, a year after a popular uprising ended Hosni Mubarak's three decades of one-man rule.

During Monday's hearing the court, as it has previously, denied the journalists' request for bail. The trial was adjourned until April 10.

Detained journalist 'will enjoy all of his rights,' Egyptian leader says

8 Al Jazeera journalists charged by Egyptian authorities, network says

International media demand that Egypt release detained journalists

Journalists Ian Lee and Heba Fahmy reported from Cairo. CNN's Jason Hanna wrote from Atlanta.

Part of complete coverage on
Visit CNN Arabic for full election news and updates in Arabic.
updated 12:50 PM EDT, Mon May 26, 2014
CNN's Reza Sayah explains Egypt's presidential election.
updated 12:55 PM EDT, Mon May 26, 2014
Minute changes by Egypt's next leader may not be sufficient to bring genuine stability, writes H.A. Hellyer.
updated 11:59 PM EDT, Thu May 22, 2014
Supporters of Egyptian leftist presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi (portrait) attend a campaign meeting in Cairo.
Both presidential candidates have made lofty promises. But has either offered specifics on how the economy?
updated 4:06 AM EDT, Sun June 8, 2014
CNN's Reza Sayah profiles the leading contender in Egypt's presidential election, ex army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
updated 4:09 AM EDT, Fri May 23, 2014
Hamdeen Sabahi is considered a heavy underdog in the race for Egypt's presidency, but he's sure he's going to win.
updated 6:08 PM EDT, Wed May 21, 2014
A court in Cairo sentences ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to three years in prison for embezzlement.
updated 1:22 PM EDT, Thu May 22, 2014
An Egyptian man waits for tourists to take them on camel rides at the Giza pyramids on the outskirts of Cairo on February 14, 2011.
Instead of focusing on antiquities, Egypt's new "We miss you" video features dancers, malls and ritzy hotels.
updated 11:14 AM EDT, Thu May 8, 2014
Former Arab League head Amre Moussa says presidential favorite Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is right to stand up to "terrorists."
updated 8:50 AM EDT, Thu May 8, 2014
Can music heal the rift of revolution and conflict in Egypt? CNN's Reza Sayah meets the Egyptian band trying.
updated 5:20 PM EDT, Tue May 6, 2014
Egypt's former military chief doesn't mince words when he describes what would happen if he wins the presidency.
updated 5:37 AM EDT, Thu April 10, 2014
Are threats of sexual violence an everyday reality for women in Cairo?
updated 12:41 PM EDT, Mon March 24, 2014
Interim Egyptian President Adly Mansour sends letter to the family of jailed Al Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy.
updated 12:30 PM EDT, Sun March 9, 2014
CNN's Sara Sidner talks about stepping in for Al Jazeera reporters since they have been barred from working in Egypt.
updated 7:34 AM EDT, Sat March 15, 2014
How are the Arab Spring nations faring? What successes can they boast and what challenges await?