Mohamed Fahmy and Peter Greste listen to the verdict inside the defendants cage (Photo: KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Earlier today, an Egyptian court convicted three Al Jazeera English journalists on terrorism-related charges — among them Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fahmy — and sentenced them each to seven years in prison.
The other two journalists were Australian correspondent Peter Greste and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed, whom AP reports also received an extra three years on other charges.
"I swear they will pay for this," Fahmy is reported to have shouted after the sentences were announced.
Australia's ABC News posted this video of the emotional reaction from Greste's parents upon receiving the news:
Fahmy, Greste and Mohamed were arrested on December 29, 2013, and were charged by Egyptian authorities with endangering national security and publishing stories in service of the Muslim Brotherhood, the banned Egyptian political party of former president Mohamed Morsi. The three journalists have defended themselves by saying they were merely doing their job as reporters by covering the protests led by the Brotherhood against the military-backed government.
"It's corrupt judicial system, and this whole case has been fabricated to serve the agenda of Egypt," Mohamed Fahmy's brother Adel Fahmy told CBC's Heather Hiscox. "The Foreign Affairs minister and the Canadian embassy have done a great job. I have to admit that. We give credit where it is due. But I don't know. There should have been a higher-up pressure. There should have been more urgent pressure. Maybe they reacted too late … and the problem is now that this is the result, and I don't know how it can be resolved or reversed."
David Drake, Canada's ambassador to Egypt, told CBC News he "does not understand" the verdict. "The defence council did an excellent job in clearly establishing that there is no incriminating evidence with regard to the charges, and that there were multiple procedural shortcomings regarding the trial itself."
Two British journalists and a Dutch journalist were handed 10-year sentences today in absentia as well. And in a mass trial, over 180 people were sentenced to death over the weekend, including the Muslim Brotherhood's Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie.
On May 1, Fahmy was awarded the Press Freedom Award by the Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom. His lawyer told CBC News that today's guilty verdict will be appealed.
"To have detained them for 177 days is an outrage," Al-Jazeera English managing director Al Anstey said in a statement. "To have sentenced them defies logic, sense, and any semblance of justice."
Via CBC News