Al Jazeera's head of newsgathering, Heather Allan, joined HuffPost Live on Thursday to speak out about the Egyptian government's charges against her colleagues.
Correspondent Peter Greste, and producers Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy were arrested at the end of December on suspicion of broadcasting false news and conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood. On Wednesday, 20 people were formally charged in a case against Al Jazeera, even though only nine of those named are actually employees at Al Jazeera.
Allan spoke to HuffPost Live's Ahmed Shihab-Eldin the day after the formal charges were made.
Greste, Fahmy and Mohamed "are in particularly harsh conditions and just shouldn't be there," she said.
In letters from prison, Greste acknowledged the risk he took by speaking to members of the Muslim Brotherhood for his reporting. The organization was recently declared a terrorist group in Egypt. Greste said that the risk was necessary in order to provide balanced reporting.
Allan told HuffPost Live that the other 11 people charged are students who may be activists, filmmakers and stringers who are not part of Al Jazeera's staff.
"We're really worried about them," she said. "We don't use them in our permanent staff and really, they've done nothing wrong other than be witness or take pictures of demonstrations on the streets of Cairo that happened to go on our air."
Al Jazeera slammed the charges in a statement on Wednesday. "The allegations and actions of the Egyptian authorities are extraordinary, unjust, and unacceptable," said Al Anstey, managing director of Al Jazeera English.
The case has drawn international attention as journalists worldwide protest the detention of Al Jazeera employees. The White House has also called for their release.
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