High crimes of the Fourth Estate
Egypt has jailed at least 67 people this year for committing the high crime of journalism. At least 14 still are in jail, including three al Jazeera reporters - Mohamed amed Fadel Fahmy, Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed - who were sentenced this week to seven to 10 years in prison after a show trial that was a mockery of justice. Two other al Jazeera journalists and a Dutch newspaper reporter were sentenced in absentia to 10 years in prison.
New Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said he will not intervene, demonstrating that his regime will be as dictatorial and corrupt as that of the predecessor he deposed, Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Wednesday at the United Nations, diplomats from scores of countries lambasted Egypt, but Egyptian Deputy Ambassador Osama Abdelkhalek Mahmoud shrugged it off, saying that Egypt doesn't consider journalism a crime.
The arrested journalists were accused of aiding the Muslim Brotherhood.
This entire sorry episode demonstrates that, for all the concern about al-Jazeera in the West, the true threat it poses is to Mideast dictators.
The United States and other Western countries should condemn the convictions and make aid contingent upon their reversal.