Qatari satellite channel Al-Jazeera rejected claims made by the Prosecutor General that its detained journalists had confessed to joining the Muslim Brotherhood.
“The prosecutor’s measure of issuing a statement like this is unusual, as it looks like a prejudgment on an ongoing investigation.” said a spokesman for the channel on Al-Jazeera’s website, “Claims that anyone has ‘confessed’ are rejected by our journalists and legal team.”
On Thursday the Prosecutor General released a statement that contained comments on ongoing interrogations of detained Al-Jazeera English (AJE) journalists. It said, “some defendants confessed during the investigations that they had joined the terrorist group [the Muslim Brotherhood].”
The prosecution also said that “it had been proven that the defendants gathered and edited video material to recreate reports fabricating the situation in Egypt to tarnish the country’s reputation and delude international public opinion by saying that a civil war is going on in Egypt.”
Thursday’s statement also said the defendants are charged with possessing unlicenced broadcast equipment used to damage Egypt’s national security, publishing false news to disrupt national peace, and possessing false images aimed at tarnishing the country’s reputation and weakening its financial trust.
AJE Cairo bureau chief Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, Australian correspondent Peter Greste, producer Baher Mohamed and cameraman Mohamed Fawzy were arrested on 29 December 2013 and have remained in detention since.
Their detention has been the cause of heavy international and domestic criticism directed at the Egyptian authorities.
Earlier last year Al-Jazeera journalists Abdullah Al-Shami and Mohamed Badr were arrested while covering protests and remain in detention.