Egypt detains four Al Jazeera staff in latest crackdown

Al Jazeera English correspondent Peter Greste on a previous assignment to South Africa

Via Facebook.com

Al Jazeera English correspondent Peter Greste on a previous assignment to South Africa

The Al Jazeera Network is calling for the immediate release of four of its employees who were taken into custody by Egyptian authorities last night.

The team of four, which includes correspondent Peter Greste, producers Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, and cameraman Mohamed Fawzy, all work for the Al Jazeera English channel.

Egypt’s Ministry of Interior told the BBC that the team was arrested for holding meetings with the Muslim Brotherhood – a political group that was banned a few months ago and is now officially called a “terrorist group” by the military-backed interim government there.

An Al Jazeera spokeswoman said the network was still waiting to find out what the specific charges were against the four, but the network has for months complained of harassment by Egyptian authorities, and shut down its Cairo bureau for security reasons.

Although some Egyptian officials have complained about anti-government or pro-Muslim Brotherhood biases in Al Jazeera’s overall coverage, no official ban has been placed on any of the channels.

In August, another team of AJE journalists was arrested in Cairo, but were released a few days later.

Mohamed Badr, a cameraman for the Al Jazeera Mubasher Egypt channel, however, has been in jail since July. Al Jazeera Arabic correspondent Abdullah al-Shami has been jailed since mid-August and is now on a hunger strike.

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