Egypt claims 3 detained journalists serve blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood
Agence France-Presse in Cairo
Egyptian prosecutors accused three detained Al-Jazeera journalists, including an Australian and a Canadian, of broadcasting false news in the service of the Muslim Brotherhood, now blacklisted as a terrorist group.
The three journalists - Peter Greste, an acclaimed Australian reporter who formerly worked for the BBC; Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed and Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Adel Fahmy - were arrested on December 29 in a Cairo hotel.
"The accused confessed during interrogation that they belonged to the terrorist group" the Muslim Brotherhood, prosecutors said in a statement issued on Thursday.
They said the journalists, who were not officially accredited, edited footage "to tarnish Egypt's image abroad ... to serve the interests of the international terrorist organisation."
The journalists' lawyers and Al-Jazeera have dismissed the allegations as false.
"The accusations against our journalists do not stand up to scrutiny," the broadcaster's spokesman, Osama Saeed, said.
Fahmy has no known ties with the Brotherhood.
Two other Al-Jazeera reporters remain in custody, including Abdullah Elshamy, arrested on August 14 when police dispersed a sit-in against the army's overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Mursi, killing hundreds.
Egyptian authorities have been incensed by Al-Jazeera's coverage of their crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.