Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

The Egyptian Society of Australia condemns in no uncertain terms the attack on the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris. The society also condemns the double standards displayed in this march through the presence of some government representatives that have very poor human rights record. We believe that the presence of the foreign minister of the Egyptian coup regime amongst the marchers de-values and dilutes what the march stands for.

Reporters Without Borders singled out a number of leaders including Egypt, which ranked 159th out of 180 countries in terms of press freedom in a league table compiled by the group. "We should show solidarity with Charlie Hebdo without forgetting the world’s other ‘Charlies’,” said Christophe Deloire, secretary general of the campaign group. “We should not allow the predators of the press to spit on the graves of Charlie Hebdo.”

The Chairman for the Egyptian Society of Australia, Mr Mohammad Helmy, said "We find it intolerable that the regime which unlawfully jailed Peter Greste and other Aljazeera journalists be present at a march for freedom of speech." He added, "The presence of the Egyptian coup foreign minister de-values what the march stands for because of their poor human rights record."

In Egypt 16 known journalists, including three from al-Jazeera, are in jail. The al-Jazeera journalists have been held since December 2013 for “spreading false news” and “membership of a terrorist organisation”. The Egyptian Society of Australia also notes that there are tens more photographers, freelance writers and journalists who have either been killed, jailed or stopped from carrying out their work.

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