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Egypt to consider Al-Jazeera journalists' appeal Thursday

Mohamed Fahmy, Baher Mohamed and Australian correspondent Peter Greste have been in prison for almost a year

Ahram Online , Wednesday 31 Dec 2014
Al-Jazeera Journalists
Al Jazeera journalists (L-R) Mohammed Fahmy, Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed stand behind bars at a court in Cairo May 15, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)
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An Egyptian court will look Thursday into an appeal request for three imprisoned Al-Jazeera journalists.

The three journalists of the Qatar-based news network in English were sentenced in June to jail terms ranging from seven to 10 years for spreading false news and aiding the Muslim Brotherhood, a group now outlawed by Egyptian authorities.

The trio are Egyptian-Canadian and Cairo bureau chief Mohamed Fahmy, Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed and Australian correspondent Peter Greste.

The defence team, that includes internationally acclaimed lawyer Amal Clooney, criticised in its appeal request the original verdict's reasoning, among other legal issues.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Monday hopes are fading for the release of Greste (pending trial), after having previously raised hopes that he could be freed.  

"We had indications that Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi would exercise his authority regarding a pardon or a clemency plea in advance of the appeal," Bishop told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
 
"Yet, in the meantime, the Egyptian foreign minister has said to me that we have to await the appeal, so there are different messages coming from the Egyptian government," Bishop said.

The court's verdict in June sparked wide fury and global support for the three journalists who have now been in jail for almost a year.

Meanwhile, relations between Egypt and Qatar have appeared to take a new turn recently.

Last week, Al-Jazeera announced it was taking its controversial Egyptian service Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr off air. It was accused of openly supporting Egypt's deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

Reports surfaced that Egyptian and Qatari intelligence officials met in Cairo shortly after to discuss a "reconciliation" meeting next month between Egypt’s president and the emir of Qatar in Saudi Arabia.

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