Sue Turton

  • Aired:  07/21/14
  •  | Views: 30,097

Al Jazeera correspondent Sue Turton discusses international efforts that might help to free her fellow journalists imprisoned in Egypt, including the #FreeAJStaff campaign. (6:39)

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]>> Jon: WELCOME BACK.

MY GUEST TONIGHT, SHE IS SENIORCORRESPONDENT FOR "AL JAZEERA

ENGLISH," PLEASE WELCOME TO THEPROGRAM SUE TURTON.

>> THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

>> OH, PLEASURE TO BE HERE.

>> Jon: SO OBVIOUSLY, YOU KNOW,WE HAVE SEEN OVER THESE PAST FEW

YEARS THE DANGERS OF BEING AJOURNALIST IN THESE VERY

DIFFICULT REGIONS OF THE WORLD,BUT YOU ARE HERE SPECIFICALLY.

THERE ARE THREE JOURNALISTS FROMAL JAZEERA WHO ARE BEING

IMPRISONED.

THEY'RE HELD RIGHT NOW IN EGYPT.

>> YEP.

>> WHAT'S GOING ON WITH THAT?

>> THESE GUYS WERE ARRESTED BACKON THE TO THE 29th OF DECEMBER.

AT THE TIME THERE WAS REALCRACKDOWN GOING ON OF ALL

THE MEDIA COVERING WHATWAS GOING ON THE EGYPT.

>> Jon: YES.

>> I THINK IF YOU REMEMBERTHERE WAS A COUP LAST YEAR WHEN

THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD, MOHAMEDMORSI WAS THE PRESIDENT.

>> Jon: YES.>> HE WAS REMOVED FROM POWER.

>> Jon: I AM FAMILIAR.

>> YEAH, AND THE MILITARY TOOKOVER.

AND, THEY BASICALLY WANT TO SHUTDOWN ANY DISSENT AGAINST THE

GOVERNMENT.>> Jon: MMHMM.

>> SO OUR GUYS WERE STILLOPERATING IN EGYPT QUIETLY, BUTWE WERE

STILL OPERATING THERE.

THEY CAME THROUGH THE HOTELDOOR.

THEY CALLED US THE MARRIOTTCELL AND THEY ARRESTED THE

THREE GUYS IN THE MARRIOTT CELL,IN THE HOTEL.

>> Jon: THEY CALLED YOUMARRIOTT CELL, AS THOUGH YOU

WERE IN THE MARRIOTT SLEEPERCELL. THESE THREE JOURNALISTS.

>> YES, THE MARRIOTT HOTEL.

>> Jon: YOU ALWAYS HAVE TOSTAY AT THE DAYS INN.

>> YEAH, WELL NOW WE KNOW.

>> Jon: THAT'S YOUR PROBLEM.

>> NOW WE KNOW. SO THEY'VE BEENIN PRISON EVER SINCE.

THIS IS 205 DAYS TODAY.

>> Jon: AND LET ME GET THESEGUYS' NAMES.

BECAUSE I THINK IT'SIMPORTANT. PETER GRESTE...

>> PETER GRESTE, THEAUSTRALIAN GUY.

>> Jon: YES.>> YEAH.

>> Jon: BAHER MOHAMED...>> BAHER MOHAMED IS EGYPTIAN

AND MOHAMED FAHMY WHO IS OURBUREAU CHIEF WHO IS

HALF CANADIAN, HALFEGYPTIAN. SO...

>> RIGHT. NOW ONE OF THESEGENTLEMEN IS IN THE HOSPITAL

RIGHT NOW?>> YEAH, MOHAMED FAHMY HE HAD

A DISLOCATED SHOULDER AND ITSUDDENLY SORT OF BECAME BROKEN

WHILE HE WAS BEING TRANSFERREDTO PRISON.

>> Jon: SURE, PEOPLE CAN SLIPAND FALL.

>> THEY CAN SLIP. YEAH.

>> Jon: SURE.

>> AND, THEN HE WAS, THEYWERE PUT IN MAXIMUM SECURITY

TERRORIST PRISON CALLED THESCORPION'S UNIT BECAUSE --.

>> Jon: WHO'S NAMING THINGSIN EGYPT THESE DAYS, OUR C.I.A.?

[LAUGHTER]THE, UH, 200 DAYS.

NOW, THERE'S A BIG DEAL MADETHAT, YOU KNOW, PEOPLE HAVE

APPEALED TO EL-SISI, WHO IS NOWTHE PHARAOH THERE.

[LAUGHTER]AND, HE SAYS HE CAN'T DO

ANYTHING BECAUSE THE JUDICIARYIS A SEPARATE ENTITY FROM,

FROM... IT'S NOTUNDER HIS AUSPICES.

>> HE WAS VERY MUCH MAKING THEPOINT THAT IT'S AN INDEPENDENT

JUDICIAL SYSTEM. AND WE WERE ALLHOPING THAT WAS THE CASE.

WE HAD 12 SESSIONS OF A TRIAL,WHICH I WAS ON TRIAL AS WELL

BECAUSE I'VE BEEN TRIED INABSENTIA.

THERE WAS A NUMBER OF US THATEVEN THOUGH WE WEREN'T

IN THE COUNTRY, WE WEREALSO ACCUSED OF HELPING

TERRORISTS, THEMUSLIM BROTHERHOOD.

>> Jon: RIGHT. AND THESEGUYS ARE MERELY REPORTING SOME

NEGATIVE THINGS JUST OBJECTIVELYTHAT THE REGIME WOULD

FIND OBJECTIONABLE.

>> WELL, WERE WE REPORTINGNEGATIVE THINGS?

BECAUSE WE DON'T KNOW.

BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T SHOWANYTHING IN COURT THAT HAD

ANYTHING TO DO WITHOUR REPORTING.

>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> THERE WAS, THERE WAS A HORSEGALLOPING IN A YARD...

>> Jon: RIGHT.>> THAT THEY PULLED FROM

THE HARD DRIVE THAT THEY SHOWEDIN COURT.

THERE WAS FOOTAGE FROM DIFFERENTCOUNTRIES THAT SOME OF OUR

JOURNALISTS HAD DONE, BUTNOTHING TO DO WITH EGYPT.

>> Jon: MY FAVORITE PART OFTHE TRIAL WAS WHEN THE

PROSECUTOR SAID, I HAVE MOREHARD EVIDENCE THAT THEY ARE

TERRORISTS, BUT I CANNOT SHOW ITBECAUSE WE DON'T HAVE THE RIGHT

DVD PLAYER.

[LAUGHTER]>> I MEAN, THAT WAS THE, THAT

WAS THE REAL TENET OF THE WHOLECASE, TO BE HONEST WITH YOU.

WE WERE EXPECTING THEPROSECUTION TO COME UP WITH SOME

AMAZING EVIDENCE THAT WE WEREALL QUITE CONFUSED ABOUT...

>> Jon: RIGHT.>> BUT IT NEVER HAPPENED.

BUT EVEN STILL, WE WERE FOUNDGUILTY, AND I'VE BEEN SENTENCED

FOR TEN YEARS IN JAIL INABSENTIA.

>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> THE GUYS IN PRISON HAVE GOTBETWEEN SEVEN AND TEN YEARS IN

JAIL. THEY'RE GOING TO APPEAL,BUT WE'RE LOOKING AT THE SAME

JUDICIAL SYSTEM THAT PUT THEMTHERE.

>> Jon: SO, WHAT IS UNDERLYINGTHIS?

BECAUSE SOMETHING, SOMETHING ISGOING ON.

SO, WHAT IS IT THAT'SUNDERLYING THEIR IMPRISONMENT?

IT'S CLEARLY NOT WHAT THEY'RESAYING IT IS.

WHAT DO YOU THINK IT IS?

>> THERE'S NO LOVE LOST BETWEENQATAR, WHICH IS WHERE AL JAZEERA

IS BASED, AND EGYPT AT THEMOMENT.

THERE IS A REAL TUSSLE GOINGON IN THAT WHOLE REGION.

>> NOW THERE WAS, THOUGH, WHENMORSI WAS IN POWER...

>> YEAH.>> Jon: THEY WERE ALLIED WITH

QATAR. >> INDEED.

AND THERE'S NO SECRET THAT QATARDID FUND THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD

AND THAT THE PRESIDENT, WHEN HEWAS ELECTED, I MEAN, AFTER THE

REVOLUTION IN 2011, PRESIDENTMORSI WAS THE GUY THEY PUT

IN POWER. THE EGYPTIAN PEOPLESAID, WE WANT THIS GUY.

>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> NOW THINGS HAVE CHANGED INTHE LAST TWO YEARS.

SO, YEAH, QATAR WAS VERY MUCHBACKING THEM, AND NOW,

OF COURSE, THEY'RE OUT, ANDTHE NEW GUYS ARE IN.

QATAR'S OUT.>> Jon: THE SAUDIS ARE IN NOW.

THE SAUDIS ARE THEONES NOW FUNDING EL-SISI...

>> THE SAUDIS ARE BACKING, YEP,YEP...

>> $24 BILLION. CAN THE SAUDISTHEN PUT SOME PRESSURE?

DOES INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE, DOINTERNATIONAL NORMS MEAN

ANYTHING ANYMORE?

BECAUSE IT SEEMS THE FURTHER WEGO INTO THESE CONFLICTS, THERE

IS NO ACCOUNTABILITY FORBEHAVIORS OF GOVERNMENTS.

>> THE ONLY THING WE CAN DO ISPRAY THAT IT DOES MAKE

DIFFERENCE.

>> Jon: OK, THAT DOESN'T REALLYFILL ME WITH ANY TYPE OF HOPE.

>> NO, I KNOW.

>> Jon: TO BE HONEST WITHYOU, IN THAT SITUATION, YOU

DON'T EVEN KNOW WHICH GOD YOU'REPRAYING TO TO GET THEM OUT.

>> I PRAY TO THEM ALL, JON. IPRAY TO THEM ALL.

>> Jon: ALL RIGHT. PRAY TO THEMALL.

>> NO, NO, I PRAY TO THEM ALL.

>> Jon: BUT, IS THERE ANYWHERETO APPEAL?

WHO'S GOT SWAY IN THIS?

>> YOU KNOW WHAT, THE AMERICANADMINISTRATION HAS GOT SWAY

BECAUSE THE EGYPTIANS AND THEAMERICANS HAVE BEEN GOOD

FRIENDS FOR A LONG TIMES.

AND YOU KNOW, STRATEGICALLY IT'SIMPORTANT THAT AMERICA IS

FRIENDS WITH EGYPT.

>> Jon: SO, YOU THINK WE COULDGET THEM OUT?

YOU'RE ADORABLE.

[LAUGHTER]NO WAY.

>> NO?

>> Jon: WE DON'T HAVE...

YOU KNOW, THAT'S BEEN THE ENTIRETHING IS AMERICA ALWAYS

BELIEVES WE CAN CONTROL ALLTHESE OUTCOMES, BUT

I THINK THE GAME HAS SLOWLYSLIPPED A LITTLE BIT.

CAN PEOPLE DO ANYTHING?

WOULD THAT MATTER?

>> YOU KNOW, I THINK THERE'S ACOUPLE THINGS.

WE'VE HAD THIS TWITTER CAMPAIGN,THIS FREE AJ STAFF CAMPAIGN

THAT HAS GONE GLOBAL, IT'STRENDING A LOT.

>> Jon: RIGHT, RIGHT, RIGHT.

>> SO, PEOPLE CAN TAKE A SELFIESOF THEMSELVES WITH TAPE OVER

THEIR MOUTHS AND HOLD THESIGN UP...

>> Jon: ALL RIGHT.>> BUT ALSO, YOU KNOW WHAT,

HAVE A CONSCIENCE ABOUTWHERE YOU GO ON HOLIDAY.

YOU KNOW, SO MANY TIMES WHEN I'MIN EGYPT...

>> Jon: VOTE WITH YOURDOLLARS. I SEE.

>> YEAH, YOUR TOURISM DOLLARS.

I HEAR AMERICAN ACCENTS WHEN I'MOUT IN EGYPT.

MAYBE THIS ISN'T THE TIME TOGO LOOK AT THE PYRAMIDS AT THE

MOMENT.>> Jon: RIGHT. WHEN YOU

SEE AMERICAN ACCENTS DO YOU ALSOSEE BERMUDA SHORTS

AND VERY LARGE FLOWERYSHIRTS BY ANY CHANCE?

>> USUALLY, YES.

>> Jon: THAT BE US.

I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST.

I TRULY HOPE THAT THESE THREEJOURNALISTS, THAT SANITY

PREVAILS, THAT THESE GUYS WILLBE RELEASED BACK TO THEIR

FAMILIES SOONER RATHER THANLATER.

KEEP UP THE GOOD FIGHT.

>> THANK YOU, SIR.

>> Jon: SUE TURTON, LADIES ANDGENTLEMEN, WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

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