The Latvian Association of Journalists (LAJ) has called for Latvian residents to boycott visiting Egyptian resorts until Australian-Latvian journalist Peter Greste and his colleagues from 'he Al-Jazeera news network are given a fair trial or released from custody.
LAJ chairwoman Anda Rozukalne said Greste was sentenced for reporting on the situation in Egypt, and was not able to defend himself in court with the help of a local attorney. Greste, who is an experienced and respected journalist, has always observed professional ethics and has not breached any laws. She urges to Foreign Ministry and other top officials to use their influence in international structures to achieve a review of the Egyptian court ruling.
''The sentencing of Greste and his colleagues in Egypt is shocking, and this cannot be left without a reaction, as it is clear the Egyptian authorities are using the courts to crack down against professional journalists working in the country. The LAJ calls for Latvian residents to boycott Egyptian resorts and refrain from visiting this country until Greste is given a fair trial,'' the association points out in a statement.
A Cairo court on Monday handed down a guilty verdict in the trial of Al Jazeera journalists accused of aiding the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood party, sentencing Greste to seven years in prison. Two other journalists also received seven years.
The trial has triggered international outrage amid fears of growing media restrictions in Egypt.
The Latvian Foreign Ministry expressed dismay in reaction to news about the verdict, with Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics vowing that Latvia - together with the EU and Australia - will continue the fight for Greste's release despite this setback.