Egypt: Al-Jazeera's lawyer complains to judge

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Photo - Australian correspondent of Al-Jazeera Peter Greste appears in a defendant cage along with other defendants during a trial on terrorism charges in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, May 22, 2014. A defense lawyer for one of three Al-Jazeera journalists on trial in Egypt on terrorism charges has told the judge that the proceedings against his client "make no sense." (AP Photo/Ahmed Gamil)
Australian correspondent of Al-Jazeera Peter Greste appears in a defendant cage along with other defendants during a trial on terrorism charges in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, May 22, 2014. A defense lawyer for one of three Al-Jazeera journalists on trial in Egypt on terrorism charges has told the judge that the proceedings against his client "make no sense." (AP Photo/Ahmed Gamil)
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CAIRO (AP) — A defense lawyer for one of three Al-Jazeera journalists on trial in Egypt on terrorism charges told the judge on Thursday that some of the proceedings against his client "make no sense."

The attorney, Khaled Abu Bakr, complained during six hours in court that the prosecution added new evidence without informing the defense and that the defense had tried in vain for four days to see the material. Under Egyptian law, the prosecution is obliged to allow the defense team insight into its evidence.

The three journalists — award-winning Australian correspondent Peter Greste, Canadian-Egyptian acting Cairo bureau chief Mohammed Fahmy and Egyptian Baher Mohammed — were arrested in a December raid on their hotel in Cairo.

The three are accused of being part of a terrorist group and airing falsified footage intended to damage Egyptian national security. Bakr represents Fahmy. Other defendants have their own lawyers.

Egyptian authorities accuse Qatari-owned Al-Jazeera of providing a platform for the Muslim Brotherhood, which the government has branded a terrorist organization.

Fahmy, who also spoke in court on Thursday, said that the prosecution was "picking and choosing" the evidence they exhibited at the proceedings, ignoring the defense and that his team's lawyers were "facing a lot of obstacles."

The purported evidence presented by the prosecution on Thursday included footage of pro-Brotherhood protests in Egypt last fall, a photograph taken by the Al-Jazeera crew of a flyer calling for a strike at the religious Al-Azhar University in Cairo, and photographs of young women detained in Alexandria, along with part of a podcast by the BBC World Service and a few bars of the well-known pop song "Somebody That I Used to Know," by Belgian-Australian artist Gotye.

"The new exhibits (by the prosecution) make no sense," Bakr said.

The trial is to resume on June 1.

The Brotherhood denies it practices or advocates violence, and says it only pursues protests against Egypt's military-backed authorities.

Since the ouster last July of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, who hails from the Brotherhood, Egypt has seen a heavy crackdown on his supporters, with several thousand detained and hundreds killed in political violence.

Rights group Amnesty International said in a statement Thursday that dozens of civilians have been secretly held in detention at a military camp in Egypt where they have been tortured, according to new evidence.

"These are practices associated with the darkest hours of military and (Hosni) Mubarak's rule" said Hassiba Hadj-Sahraoui at Amnesty, referring to Morsi's predecessor, the longtime autocrat Mubarak.

Amnesty said Egyptian lawyers and activists have a list of at least 30 civilians who are reportedly being held in secret at Al Azouly prison inside the military camp n Ismailia, 130 kilometers (80 miles) northeast of Cairo.

It said that former detainees there have told Amnesty that possibly up to 400 people could be held in the prison block. The detainees have not been charged or referred to prosecutors or courts, and have had no access to their lawyers or families, Amnesty said.

Meanwhile, Al Jazeera Arabic journalist Abdullah Elshamy, 26, remains in solitary confinement in a maximum security prison.

Elshamy, who was arrested after Egyptian security forces broke up a sit-in of Morsi's supporters last August, has been held without charges and has been on a hunger strike for over 100 days.

On Wednesday, Interior Ministry's Facebook page had photographs of Elshamy holding food to his mouth.

His family, also in a Facebook statement, expressed "deep concern" about "pressure or duress that Abdullah was put under for these images to be staged."

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