الثلاثاء , يونيو 9 2020

Al-Jazeera retrial verdicts delayed

Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy in court in Cairo (31 March 2014)

Baher Mohamed (L) and Mohamed Fahmy deny collaborating with the Muslim Brotherhood

Verdicts in the retrial of three Al-Jazeera journalists in Egypt previously jailed for allegedly aiding the banned Muslim Brotherhood have been delayed.

Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy, Egyptian Baher Mohamed and Australian Peter Greste were sentenced to up to 10 years in prison in June 2014.

Their convictions for spreading false news were overturned on appeal and they were released on bail in February.

Al-Jazeera said it was “extremely angry” at the latest delay.

Mr Greste, who was deported to Australia and was due to be tried in absentia, said it was “incredibly frustrating”.

Mr Mohamed said he had been told by court officials that there will be no sessions today, adding he was “disappointed” at the delay.

The Dutch ambassador to Egypt, who was due to attend the hearing, tweeted that it had been postponed until 8 August.

The journalists strenuously deny collaborating with the Muslim Brotherhood, which is considered to be a terrorist group, after the overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi by the military in 2013.

They say they were jailed for doing their jobs.

‘We want to move on’

Mr Fahmy was Cairo bureau chief at the time of his arrest and spent 411 days in custody.

He told the BBC that “factors other than evidence” were likely to play a part in “this circus of a retrial”.

“I hope the judge understands the international outcry and support we have will only increase and make Egypt look bad and even worse if he puts us back in prison,” he added.


Peter Greste was reunited with his family in Australia after his release

“Me, Peter and Baher have become like brothers. He is fighting the battle in Australia and me and Baher are still here.”

He said the rift between Egypt and Qatar, where the Al-Jazeera network is based, was worse than ever.

Egypt’s Court of Cassation ruled on 1 January that the original court had been “hasty in pronouncing its verdict”.

Judge Anwar Gabry, said prosecutors had failed to present conclusive evidence that the defendants had helped the Muslim Brotherhood.

Mr Fahmy, who held dual Canadian and Egyptian citizenship, renounced his Egyptian nationality earlier this year to qualify for deportation, under a decree issued by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.

But he only received a temporary Canadian passport at the end of April and remains in Egypt.

According to campaign group Reporters Without Borders, there are currently 139 journalists imprisoned around the world, including 10 in Egypt.

Timeline: Journalists’ detention

  • 29 December 2013: Peter Greste and Mohamed Fahmy arrested in police raid on Cairo’s Marriott Hotel. Baher Mohamed later arrested at home
  • 29 January 2014: 20 people including the three journalists referred to trial, charged with spreading false news, belonging to a terrorist organisation and operating without a permit
  • 22 February: First court appearance of the three journalists
  • 23 June: Defendants sentenced to seven years, with Baher Mohamed receiving an additional three years
  • 12 November: President Sisi signs decree allowing repatriation of foreign prisoners
  • 1 January 2015: Highest court orders retrial, but the three journalists not allowed bail
  • 1 February 2015: Peter Greste freed and deported, his two colleagues remain behind bars
  • 12 February 2015: At the start of their retrial, the judge orders the release on bail of Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed.
  • 30 July 2015: Verdicts postponed

How journalists were jailed in Egypt

Who are the jailed journalists?

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