The trial of three Al Jazeera journalists is adjourned until May
Prosecution presents video of sheep herding and meat consumption as part of its case
An incredulous defense lawyer: "Put the sheep aside. ... This is a waste of time"
The Egyptian government says the trio joined the Muslim Brotherhood
The trial of three Al Jazeera journalists held on terrorism-related charges in Egypt was adjourned until May after the court on Tuesday viewed videos presented by the prosecution.
Bail was again denied for correspondent Peter Greste, producer Mohamed Fahmy and producer Baher Mohamed, who have been in jail since December 29.
The three were arrested 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.
Their case has drawn widespread international condemnation from human rights groups.
The prosecution presented video and audio recordings and photos from the pool of material collected from the defendants’ laptops, cameras and phones.
The defense challenged the meaningfulness of the evidence.
“These are very ordinary videos that don’t come close to national security in accordance with the list of charges,” lawyer Ibrahim Abdel Wahab told CNN.
Fahmy told reporters during recess, “Every journalist has this on their computer. Why is this evidence?”
Throughout Tuesday’s seven-hour session, lawyers expressed frustration with the type of evidence accepted by the court as relevant. Following the display of a video on sheep herding and meat consumption, Fahmy’s lawyer, Khaled Abu Bakr, told the court, “Put the sheep aside and cut the chase to the case. This is a waste of time.”
Many people in the courtroom, including journalists in attendance, found much of the video evidence inaudible. The judge disagreed.
Tuesday’s material was supposed to be what the prosecution saw as the most relevant to the case following an April 10 session in which random footage of Greste’s work in Kenya and some Sky News Arabia reports dating back to 2012 were shown.
Greste, an Australian who had worked in Egypt for three weeks when he was arrested in December, told reporters earlier this month that the evidence was “ludicrous” and “a joke.”
The trial comes as part of an intermittent crackdown on journalists.
The Committee to Protect Journalists ranked Egypt as the third deadliest country for journalists in 2013. Reporters Without Borders said 80 journalists were arrested from July to September last year.
Human rights groups have criticized the trial, saying the arrests indicate authorities in Egypt are stifling dissent and freedom of the press.
Al Jazeera is a large news television and digital outlet with headquarters in Doha, Qatar.