Al-Jazeera reporter Peter Greste accused of supporting the banned Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, has denied any links to the group, saying that he and other journalists from the television network pose no threat to Egypt.
Greste, an Australian, and seven co-defendants are on trial on charges of spreading false news and supporting the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood movement of deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.
He and fellow journalist Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, a Canadian Egyptian, were arrested on December 29 in a Cairo hotel suite they used as a bureau after their offices were raided by police.
“The idea that I have a connection with the Muslim Brotherhood is frankly preposterous,” Greste, dressed in white prison uniform, told the judges from outside a caged dock.
“I would like to emphasise that we pose no risk to either the state of Egypt or any individual,” he said.
Defence lawyer Mokhles El-Salhy said his clients had been doing their “job professionally and objectively” when they were arrested.
“They were covering violent clashes between protesters and security forces, as were all other channels. They didn’t make it up or fabricate it,” he told journalists before Monday’s hearing.
But prosecutors insist that Greste and fellow jailed Al-Jazeera journalists colluded with the Brotherhood, now designated a “terrorist” group, and falsely sought to portray Egypt in a state of “civil war”.
The has been adjourned to April 10.
Their trial has sparked an international outcry and fuelled fears of a media crackdown by the military-installed authorities.