Flimsy evidence used to convict Greste
Australian journalist Peter Greste and his al-Jazeera colleagues are convicted on flimsy evidence according to most Western observers of the trial.PT1M35S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-3aqpd 620 349 June 24, 2014
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The prosecution of Australian journalist Peter Greste and his al-Jazeera colleagues relied on some pretty flimsy evidence - or no evidence at all - according to most Western observers of the trial.
Upon news of the seven-year sentences for Greste and his colleague Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, Australia's ambassador to Egypt said: "On the basis of the evidence we have see I do not understand this verdict." He was backed up by his boss, Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop who said: "The Australian government simply can not understand [the conviction] based on the evidence presented in this case."
Deakin University lecturer in Middle East studies Mat Hardy said he was not surprised by the outcome. "Once the case started moving it didn't matter what evidence was presented," he said.
Dr Hardy said that for the court to drop the charges against three journalists, the newly elected government led by Abdel al-Sisi would have been accused locally of buckling under the external pressure from the West.
To achieve this conviction, prosecutors produced photos as varied as holiday pictures from Peter Greste's parents, to his earlier work of a documentary on Somalia.
1) Documentary on other countries
Grest’s BBC documentary Land of the Bandits documentary about Somalia and Kenya.
2) Media conference for events outside of Egypt
Footage of a press conference in Kenya following the Westgate Mall attacks in September 2013.
3) Clearly Photoshopped image
The clearly photoshopped image of Fahmy behind Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, who was the acting head of state after Hosni Mubarak resigned in 2011.
Although those images were at least thematically related to journalism and Middle-east politics, some appeared utterly random to the accusations at hand, such as:
4) Cars on a bridge
An image of traffic on a bridge.
5) Greste’s parents on vacation in Europe
These came from a series of photos of Peter Greste's parents Lois and Juris in Germany and Latvia.
6) Soccer documentary
A documentary about soccer in Egypt, which Greste produced for Al-Jazeera. Greste told the court demonstrated a stable Egypt, contradicting the charge that he sought to undermine the country’s image.
7) Sheep farming images
Footage of sheep farming.
8) A music video from a stranger's phone
The video for Australian singer Goyte’s Somebody I Used to Know on someone’s phone. Greste explained that he didn’t speak Arabic, the language the mobile phone was programmed in.
Deakin University’s Dr Hardy said that the seven-year sentence for Greste is "fairly lenient” by Egyptian standards, where long sentences, if not the death penalty are used liberally. Despite the almost comical evidence presented and the global uproar the case has triggered, Dr Hardy thinks it possible the Egyptian government will consider an appeal, release, transfer or extradition “once the dust has settled”.