Egypt: al-Jazeera journalists denied bail as controversial trial is adjourned
Peter Greste (L), an Australian journalist with satellite news channel Al-Jazeera on trial described his ordeal as a "massive injustice". (AFP)
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Despite their trial falling on World Press Freedom Day, three al-Jazeera journalists detained in Egypt have been denied bail again.
The judge adjourned the journalists’ trial to 15 May, despite letting one of the detainees to stand before him and plead his case for bail.
Mohamed Fahmy, al-Jazeera’s bureau chief, explained to the judge that it was within his job description to have contacts across Egypt’s political spectrum, from the Muslim Brotherhood to the army, the BBC reported.
The journalists are accused of aiding the Muslim Brotherhood and spreading false news about the 2013 ousting of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July.
Fahmy, a Canadian-Egyptian who was the head of al-Jazeera’s English bureau in Cairo has been in detention since December alongside correspondent Peter Greste and producer Baher Mohamed.
During a brief break during Saturday’s trial, Greste told his colleagues from behind the cage in which he was being held that there could be no free press in Egypt if journalists are put behind bars, according to the BBC.
Greste slammed the case, calling it a “massive injustice” and said that he and his fellow detainees had limited access to their lawyers.
All three reportedly shouted "Happy Press Freedom Day" as their court appearance – their seventh since being arrested in December – came to an end.
"It's ironic that we are still here on press freedom day. They are award-winning, highly-credentialed journalists, and to see them here, and the trial continue, is a shame. They don't deserve to be there," Greste’s brother Andrew told the BBC outside the Cairo court.
Greste, Fahmy and Mohamed are on trial with 15 others accused of having ties to the now-designated terrorist Muslim Brotherhood group and of defaming Egypt.
A fourth al-Jazeera reporter, Abdullah al-Shami, who works for the network's Arabic channel, has been detained since August but not charged, according to the BBC.
He has been on hunger strike for more than 100 days in protest at his detention.