Sunday, June 29, 2014

The System; Excellent Al Jazeera series on America's criminal justice system: Sunday July 29, 2014: Part 7: "Geography of Punishment."

REMINDER: Sign on for  annual "Wrongful Convictions Day" launched by The Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted (AIDWYC) -  effective October 2, 2014.  (For background - and link - see  previous post):

Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: What a terrible story for Al Jazeera to have to report: the conviction and imprisonment of three of its reporters in Egypt  - Peter Grest, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohammed - after a mockery of a trial, for merely doing their job of  fearlessly reporting  the news. This blog has been  following an illuminating eight-part Al Jazeera series which has steadfastly stood up for the need for fairness and  due process in America's criminal justice system. How ironic it is that three of its reporters should be deprived of any sense of fairness and due process in a  clearly politically motivated prosecution before a kangaroo court. I add my voice to the voice of many others around the world who are calling for their immediate release and extending their prayers and support to their friends and families.

Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

STORY: "Egypt sentences Al Jazeera journalists to years in prison Published by Al Jazeera on June 23, 2014.

PHOTO-CAPTION:  "Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed sentenced to seven to 10 years; accused of aiding Muslim Brotherhood."

GIST: "An Egyptian court has sentenced two Al Jazeera journalists to seven years in prison and another to 10 years, on charges including aiding the Muslim Brotherhood and reporting false news. A judge delivered the verdicts Monday against Peter Greste, an Australian citizen; Mohamed Fahmy, a Canadian citizen; and Baher Mohamed, an Egyptian citizen. Al Jazeera has always rejected the charges against its journalists and maintains their innocence. The sentences sparked worldwide condemnation. ........In the journalists’ case, the prosecution produced a number of items as evidence including a BBC podcast, a news report made while none of the accused were in Egypt, a pop video by the Australian singer Gotye and several recordings on non-Egyptian issues.........“The only reason these three men are in jail is because the Egyptian authorities don’t like what they have to say,” Amnesty International said in a news release. The group’s observer at the trial, Philip Luther, said the prosecution “failed to produce a single shred of solid evidence linking the journalists to a terrorism organization or proving they had falsified news footage.” “Consigning these men to years in prison after such a farcical spectacle is a travesty of justice,” Luther said. “The Egyptian judiciary has proved time and time again that it is either unwilling or incapable of conducting an impartial and fair trial when it comes to those perceived to support the former president.”

The entire story can be found at:

Episode 7 of "The System" which premieres this evening i - Sunday June 29, 2014 - is called "Geography of Punishment." Al Jazeera  America tells us: "Crime rates of previous decades continue to have a large impact on how the criminal justice system functions today. Proactive policing strategies such as “drug-free zone” laws and “stop-and frisk” were implemented with the best of intentions, but critics say they are not working, and are in fact causing more hardship – for the community and the state’s taxpayers – filling up prisons and infringing on civil rights. What can be done to repair the public’s trust in the system?"

Episode 8, which  premieres on Sunday July 6, 2014 at 9E/6P, is called "Prosecutorial Misconduct." Al Jazeera America tells us: "The 6th amendment to the US Constitution guarantees every American the right to a speedy and public trial before an impartial jury, and the right to a defense attorney.  What the 6th amendment doesn’t lay out are rules for law enforcement and prosecution. In this episode, we will highlight two cases: the ongoing efforts of parolee Derrick Hamilton to clear his name after twenty years for a murder conviction fraught with alleged police and prosecutorial misconduct and another in Queens that seems to have the earmarks of prosecutorial misconduct but is not yet proven."


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Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;