Two Al-Jazeera Employees and a television producer who worked for Rasd, a TV channel associated with the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood political party, have been sentenced in absentia to death by an Egyptian court as part of the myriad of court proceedings against former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi. The Al-Jazeera employees, identified as Alaa Omar Mohammed and news editor Ibrahim Mohammed Hilal, and Asmaa al-Khateib of Rasd, were sentenced to death along with three others who were accused of passing national security documents to Qatar as well as to Al Jazeera, which is based in Doha and partially funded by the Qatar’s ruling House of Thani.
As part of the proceedings, TV producer Khalid Radwan, also formerly employed at Rasd, received a 15-year prison sentence. The court case is part of the ongoing case against Morsi, who was deposed in a Military coup in 2013 and has been sentenced to death in a separate case. In this case, he and two of his aides received 25 years in prison, and Morsi along with a secretary and the secretary’s daughter received an additional 15 years for charges of leaking official documents. All verdicts will now be appealed.
Amnesty International condemned the verdict, calling for the “ludicrous charges against the journalists to be dropped,” reported the Associated Press. Al-Jazeera also condemned the sentences. “This sentence is only one of many politicized sentences that target Al Jazeera and its employees. They are illogical convictions and legally baseless,” said Mostefa Souag, Al-Jazeera’s acting director, in a statement. “Al Jazeera strongly denounces targeting its journalists and stands by the other journalists who have also been sentenced.”
Documentary producer Ahmed Afify, EgyptAir cabin crew member Mohammed Keilany and academic Ahmed Ismail were the three other defendants who received the death penalty.