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Arrests of journalists 'baseless'

An executive of pan-Arab satellite network Al Jazeera said Egypt's arrest of three of its journalists for allegedly assisting a "terrorist organisation" shows that authorities in Cairo are bent on suppressing all views other than its own.

The charges implied the three had undertaken unlawful contact with the Muslim Brotherhood, which Egyptian authorities have banned and sought to crush since the army toppled Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July after mass protests against his rule.

Qatar-based Al Jazeera has described the allegations against Australian Peter Greste, Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian Baher Mohamed - who were detained in their Cairo hotel on December 29 - as "absurd, baseless and false".

Egypt's public prosecutor said last month he would put an Australian, two Britons and a Dutch woman on trial for aiding 16 Egyptians belonging to a "terrorist organisation", referring to all as Al Jazeera correspondents.

The network told Reuters it had no Dutch or British correspondents in Egypt.

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