Doha, June 2016 – The Egyptian Criminal Court sentenced journalist Ibrahim Helal, former director of news at Al Jazeera’s Arabic channel, and Alaa Omar Mohamed Sablan, identified by the prosecution as an Al Jazeera journalist, to death on Saturday June 18, 2016. The two were charged under “The Espionage Case”, together with the deposed former President Mohamed Morsi, and a number of media professionals.
A statement from the network said: “Al Jazeera believes this is an unjust and politicized sentence that is a part of the ruthless campaign against freedom of speech and expression, in order to muzzle the voice of free press. Al Jazeera finds the sentence incriminating to the profession of journalism, which all international laws and legislation seek to protect, and to all journalists who should be enabled to report with objectivity, professionalism, and integrity.”
Dr. Mostefa Souag, the network’s Acting Director General, said: “The sentence . . . is considered an entire failure for the justice and court system in Egypt; a country classified as one of the most dangerous places for journalists to work in. This sentence is only one of many politicized sentences that target Al Jazeera and its employees. They are illogical convictions and legally baseless. Al Jazeera strongly denounces targeting its journalists and stands by the other journalists who have also been sentenced.”
Dr. Souag confirmed that Al Jazeera “is and will be standing by Ibrahim Helal and Alaa Sablan like it did with all its journalists who were subjected to similar circumstances; and it will not deviate from its editorial policy or code of ethics”. Aljazeera called upon the international community to show solidarity with the journalists.