After his release from an Egyptian prison, Al Jazeera English journalist Baher Mohamed has arrived in Doha on a visit to Al Jazeera headquarters . Baher was received by Al Jazeera Media Network’s acting Director General Dr. Mostefa Souag, Al Jazeera English Acting Managing Director Giles Trendle, various senior management of Al Jazeera and friends and colleagues.
“I’m so happy to be here so that I can personally thank all my Al Jazeera colleagues who stood behind me throughout my ordeal,” Mohamed said on arrival.
Upon receiving Mohamed, Dr. Souag said: “We are happy Baher and his small family are now with his extended Al Jazeera family. The network appreciates the courage Baher had shown during the difficult period of his arrest and sentence. In the name of honest journalism, Baher has made huge sacrifices, both personally and professionally. Baher is now a free man, but now he is also an ambassador for press freedom and fearless journalism.”
“I can’t stop thinking of my fellow journalists who are still behind bars,” adds Mohamed. “I promise every single one of them that I’ll do my best to reunite them with their loved ones. A new phase of the fight for press freedom will start from tomorrow.”
Mohamed, alongside his Al Jazeera colleagues Peter Greste and Mohamed Fahmy, was arrested in December 2013 by Egyptian authorities. They were sentenced in June 2014 for periods of seven and ten years for allegedly reporting false news and aiding and supporting a terrorist group, charges they denied and rejected. Six other Al Jazeera staff were also sentenced in absentia for the same case.
In February 2015, Greste was deported to Australia after a presidential decree. In September 2015, after they were re-sentenced by an Egyptian court, Mohamed and Fahmy were released after a Presidential pardon. Greste, however, alongside the six other AL Jazeera staff, is still sentenced in absentia.
During Mohamed’s incarceration, he missed the birth of his son Haroon in August 2014 and was separated from his young family and loved ones.
“Seeing Baher as a free man has strengthened Al Jazeera’s determination and commitment to continue our international campaign to end the injustice for our seven colleagues who are still sentenced in absentia,” says Dr. Souag. “We call on Egyptian authorities to end this ordeal and case. Al Jazeera will not rest until they are all free. We will also continue to campaign for all journalists that are suffering from oppression, wherever they are.”