Egypt to try 20 Al-Jazeera journalists on charges of helping a terrorist group

Mohammed Badr, a cameraman for Al-Jazeera appears at a court in Cairo, Egypt, Dec. 4, 2013. AP

CAIRO -- Egypt's chief prosecutor has referred 20 journalists from the Al-Jazeera TV network, including four foreigners, to trial on charges of joining or assisting a terrorist group and spreading false news that endangers national security.

The prosecutor's office Wednesday said 16 Egyptians in the case are accused of joining a terrorist group, while the foreigners - an Australian, a Dutch citizen, and two Britons - are accused of helping to promote false news benefiting the terrorist group.

It is the first instance of terror-related charges against journalists and foreigners since the government declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization in December. The statement said eight are currently in detention.

Egypt's government accuses the Qatar-based broadcaster of bias in favor of the Brotherhood. Al-Jazeera denies the charges, demanding its reporters be freed.

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