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Al-Jazeera Reporters Plead for Release (The Associated Press / The Big Story)
Three Al-Jazeera journalists on trial in Egypt directly asked the judge on Monday to release them, insisting the terrorism charges against them were preposterous. The judge denied the request for bail by Australian Peter Greste, Canadian-Egyptian Mohammed Fahmy and Baher Mohammed during the fourth hearing in the trial that opened on Feb. 20. TVNewser The judge did not accept their plea, adjourning the case until April 10. Australian Broadcasting Corp. It was Greste’s fourth appearance in court after more than 90 days in prison, and in an unusual move he was allowed to directly approach the judge and tell him why he should be freed. In words translated for the judge, Greste said that he had only been in Egypt for two weeks before his arrest and he had no connection with the Muslim Brotherhood. NYT One of the journalists even recounted drinking alcohol, which is forbidden in Islam. It was the first time the journalists were allowed to speak in court, about a hundred days after being detained. All three worked for Al Jazeera’s English-language news channel, and their case has elicited protests from human rights and free-speech groups. Mansour has said in public letters to the journalists’ families that he hoped they were soon released. And for a brief moment on Monday, the judge appeared sympathetic to the journalists’ arguments. CNN International Fahmy told the court that he and his colleagues worked in public rather than in secrecy, and covered Egypt as they would other countries. He questioned how any journalist could be labeled a terrorist. Their lawyers also took up the issue of Fahmy’s health. Fahmy injured his shoulder before his arrest in December. He has complained about not getting proper medical treatment while in prison and says that because of the lack of treatment, he no longer has full use of his right arm. The trial was adjourned until April 10.