The sentencing of three Al Jazeera journalists to prison terms by an Egyptian court on Monday has prompted shock and outrage around the world. Secretary of State John F. Kerry said the trial “flies in the face of the essential ingredients of a civil society” while Amnesty International referred to the defendants as “prisoners of conscience."
The months-long trial had already caused protests, but the unexpected verdict has caused a big reaction among journalists, some of whom knew those sentenced -- Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed -- personally.
Journalists from Al Jazeera and the BBC -- Greste himself is a former BBC correspondent -- held a silent vigil to protest the sentencing.
Other news outlets also expressed their support too, with Australian newspaper the Age making their own protest:
— Gina McColl (@gcmccoll) June 24, 2014
Jon Snow, the anchor of Britain's Channel 4 News, covered his mouth with tape at the end of the show in protest of the sentencing.
— Sunny Hundal (@sunny_hundal) June 23, 2014
Even journalists in Iran have shown their solidarity:
— Shargh (@SharghDaily) June 23, 2014
In Egypt, the reaction was more circumspect, with a headline in the privately-owned daily Al-Misri al-Yawm describing the situation as "International rage and Egyptian calm." Egyptian writer Alaa El-Aswany criticized the sentencing on Twitter, however, announcing that he would be giving up his column in the Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper as "criticism and difference of opinion are no longer allowed. Only praise, at the expense of the truth."
لم يعد الان مسموحا الا برأي واحد وفكر واحد وكلام واحد . لم يعد مسموحا بالنقد والاختلاف في الرأي . لم يعد مسموحا الا بالمديح على حساب الحقيقة
— Alaa Al Aswany (@AlaaAswany) June 23, 2014