Under Siege in Egypt, Al Jazeera Shuts Down Local Channel

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Al-Jazeera news channel's Peter Greste (L), Mohamed Fadel Fahmy (C) and Egyptian Baher Mohamed listen to their sentencing in Cairo court, June 23, 2014.Credit: AFP

AP - Egyptian authorities have cracked down on the Brotherhood, arresting thousands of its members, and putting them on trial, including Morsi. Many senior figures in the Brotherhood, which Egypt declared a terrorist organization, found refuge in Qatar, though some have since left.

The crackdown extended to Al-Jazeera. A local court declared Mubasher Misr a threat to national security and ordered it shut down soon after Morsi's ouster. The channel, whose name means "Egypt Live" in Arabic, has broadcast ever since from studios in the Qatari capital.

In December last year, Egyptian authorities arrested and swiftly tried the three Al-Jazeera English journalists, accusing them of providing a platform for the Brotherhood. Australian Peter Greste, Egyptian-Canadian Mohammed Fahmy, and Egyptian Mohammed Baher, were sentenced to at least seven years in prison on terrorism related charges. A half dozen other Al-Jazeera English journalists were sentenced in absentia in the trial, which was described as a sham by rights groups.

Fahmy said he and his colleagues were "victims of a real ongoing cold war between Egypt and Qatar," in the letter published earlier this month by Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper.

Egyptian TV on Monday hailed the shutting down of Al-Jazeera's local branch as the first sign of restoring good relations with Qatar.

"This is a translation of the Saudi initiative to restore warmth to Egyptian-Qatari relations," a broadcaster on the private Egyptian CBC station said.

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