Shouting from behind the bars of a cage in which he and his co-accused colleagues were kept, Mohamed Fahmy said he didn't understand the reason for the trial, which marks what's thought to be the first time journalists have been charged with terrorism-related offences in Egypt.
"I want to get out of this place! ... I am going to expose all of this!" he shouted. "There are crimes against humanity taking place. Nothing is right in this system."
Fahmy was working for satellite news broadcaster Al-Jazeera English when he was arrested on Dec. 29 along with his colleagues — Australian Peter Greste and Egyptian Baher Mohamed.
Egyptian authorities have alleged the trio provided a platform for the Muslim Brotherhood group of ousted president Mohammed Morsi, which the local government has declared a terrorist organization.
The government accused Qatar-based Al-Jazeera of being biased to Morsi and his group, a charge the broadcaster denies.
"This is a politicized trial and a politicized judge," Fahmy said in court, adding that prosecutors had told him privately that he and his co-defendants "are paying the price" for tensions between Egypt and Qatar.
The 40-year-old and his colleagues, who are being tried along with 17 others, have pleaded not guilty.
At Thursday's session, the court saw videos presented by the prosecution as evidence that the journalists altered footage in a way that falsified news and threatened Egypt's national security.
None of the videos appeared to have any connection to terrorism though, and none was Al-Jazeera footage. Prosecutors said the material was found on the accused's flash drives and computers.
The videos included clips from Greste's BBC news documentary on Somalia called "Land of Bandits," for which he won a 2011 Peabody Award, and clips from a Kenya press conference. Before joining Al-Jazeera, Greste worked for the BBC in London, Bosnia, Kenya and South Africa.
Other footage, from the Sky News Arabia network, included short news reports on an animal hospital in southern Egypt with pictures of horses and donkeys and on a Christian Mass in Egypt in 2012.
"This clearly does not contain anything supporting the case," presiding judge Mohammed Nagi Shehata said after the footage was aired.
Khaled Abu Bakr, Fahmy's lawyer, mocked the prosecutors, contending they didn't even know the content of the footage before submitting it as evidence.
"The prosecutor clearly didn't see the videos," he said, reiterating his request to release the journalists on bail. "The world is watching."
The judge refused bail and adjourned the trial to April 22.
The prosecution made no comment about the videos, though the defence lawyers said it is expected to present more videos in later sessions.
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has said he's discussed Fahmy's case with his Egyptian counterpart. Canadian officials have told Fahmy's family however, that his dual citizenship has placed limits on how much they can do.
Fahmy's family moved to Canada in 1991. He lived in Montreal and Vancouver for years before eventually moving abroad for work, which included covering stories for the New York Times and CNN.
— with files from The Canadian Press.
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