Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Hope for the Al Jazeera three

An appeal goes forward on Thursday 1st January for the three Al Jazeera journalists given gross prison sentences by Egypt's General Sissi.

They were imprisoned in a sham trial as a reprisal for Qatar based Al Jazeera satellite channel's unrestrained and enthusiastic support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt's parliamentary elections.

The squabble between Qatar and Egypt's military runs deep and goes way back to the days when the former Emir of Qatar overthrew his father to take power and the old Emir attempted a counter coup with the support of Egypt - a counter coup that failed of course. But the present Emir is the grandson of the old Emir. And time heals many wounds. Thus it is that Qatar and Egypt, at the behest of Saudi Arabia, have come to some sort of rapprochement in the past few weeks that culminated in a visit to Cairo by the new young Emir.

As a consequence, Al Jazeera Arabic (Al Jazeera English remains hearteningly independent) have stopped calling Sissi just Sissi in their news reports and now call him "His Excellency the President".

Ah well, it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good. What this means is that there is every chance that Al Jazeera journalists Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, imprisoned for merely interviewing Muslim Brotherhood leaders in the aftermath of the election of "His Excellency the President Sissi", may now be released. Not immediately you understand. Things take time because Egypt has to maintain the crude pretense that its justice system is fair. But there will be a retrial ordered by the Court of Appeal almost sure as eggs are eggs.

Having said which the Egyptian justice system remains a complete joke. By way of example, Egyptian blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah was imprisoned last Summer for taking part in an unsanctioned anti-government protest. His trial took place in September and he was sentenced to fifteen years in prison. As part of the case against him the judge allowed the prosecutors to show a video of his wife BELLY DANCING. What a perverted world it sometimes is.

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