Success: Al Jazeera Journalists Freed

nicolas raymond

Target: Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, President of Egypt

Goal: Applaud the pardon of two journalists previously sentenced to jail time.

Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, two journalists arrested over a year ago, were recently pardoned by Egypt’s president. Both men praised the efforts of activists around the world in calling for their freedom–activists like those here at ForceChange. Sign our petition and applaud Egypt’s president for recognizing that journalistic work is not criminal activity.

Fahmy, Mohamed, and Australian journalist Peter Greste were all working for Al Jazeera in Egypt when they were arrested and accused of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Several students were arrested on similar charges. No evidence of these alleged terrorist connections was offered at the time of the journalists’ and students’ arrests.

The journalists were initially sentenced to prison terms of 7-10 years for promoting “false news,” Amnesty International reports, but a more recent court ruling had overturned that sentence and replaced it with one that called for three years’ imprisonment for each man. The court refused to recognize the men as journalists, claiming they did not have proper authorization to broadcast the stories they did. Greste was sentenced in his absence.

However, the pardon of Fahmy and Mohamed, as well as one of the students arrested and convicted, marks a positive development in Egypt’s human rights climate. It is a tacit acknowledgement of the legitimacy of the work these journalists do, and it will hopefully provide a launch point for further steps forward in the realm of human rights. Sign to send your thanks to the man who pardoned these journalists.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Sisi,

I am writing to applaud your decision to pardon journalists Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed. Their release is an extremely positive development for human rights in Egypt, and it legitimizes the extremely important work carried out by journalists all over the world.

I hope that this step forward will lead to further progress–the release of students Khaled Mohamed Abdulraouf Mohamed and Sohaib Saad Mohamed Mohamed, for instance, both of whom were arrested around the same time as Fahmy and Mohamed. I also urge you to pardon Australian journalist Peter Greste, who has been sentenced to three years of prison time in his absence.

But for the moment, I would like to once again commend you on the decision to release and drop all the charges against Mahomed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed. Freedom of the press plays a key role in maintaining a peaceful and just society and I am pleased to see Egypt offering public recognition of this fact.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Nicolas Raymond

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