Al-Jazeera English Journalists Pictured Caged In A Cairo Courtroom

Caged Like Animals In A Cairo Courtroom

Three journalists from the Al-Jazeera English broadcaster have been pictured on Wednesday caged in a courtroom in Cairo's Tora prison.

Canadian-Egyptian Cairo bureau chief Mohamed Fahmy, producer Baher Mohamed and correspondent Peter Greste - formerly of the BBC - have been charged with spreading false news and supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, which the authorities have designated a terrorist organisation.

All three deny the charges. On their arrival in court, Mohamed shouted out "journalists are not terrorists".

Mohamed Fahmy, left, Baher Mohamed, second left, and Peter Greste, center

The trio were arrested in a hotel in the Egyptian capital in late December and have been in custody ever since. Another Al-Jazeera journalist, Abdullah al-Sham, who works for the Arabic channel, is also in custody and has so far not been charged. In total, 20 people are on trial, however Al-Jazeera says only nine of the defendants are among its employees.

During the hearing, Fahmy told the court that his right shoulder "has been broken for 10 weeks and I sleep on the floor". He added: "I ask you to free me on the guarantee from the Canadian embassy that I will not leave the country."

The plight of the captives has sparked a global backlash against the Egyptian regime, which has moved to silence the press following its military-backed seizure of power after the Arab Spring and the toppling of Hosni Mubarak.

In February, journalists from around the glove started a viral campaign to release the detainees, posting pictures of solidarity on Twitter under the hash tag #FreeAJStaff.

Journalists for the Al-Jazeera network are currently prohibited from reporting from Egypt.

Baher Mohamed, left, andPeter Greste, center, stand inside the defendants' cage


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