UPDATED: Egyptian court adjourns Al Jazeera journalists' retrial to June 11

Zenab El-Guindi, Thursday 4 Jun 2015

Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs says Peter Greste should not be included in the ongoing case in Cairo

Cairo Criminal Court adjourned to 11 June Thursday the retrial of Al-Jazeera journalists on terrorism related charges.

Canadian national Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian national Baher Mohamed, the only ones to appear in court, face charges alongside others of spreading false news and aiding the banned Muslim Brotherhood group.

The trial involves a total of 18 defendants, including Australian Peter Greste.

The 18 defendants were sentenced in June 2014 to jail terms ranging from seven to 10 years. Eleven were tried in absentia while three — Fahmy, Mohamed and Greste — were detained for over 400 days.

In February, Greste was released and deported to his native country Australia under the provisions of a newly issued law allowing foreign nationals to be deported to serve their sentences, or be retried, in their own countries.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs has already sent a letter to Cairo Criminal Court stating that journalist Peter Greste was accused of crimes in Egypt that are not punishable under Australian law.

The letter added that there was no legal reason to include Greste in the ongoing case in Cairo.

In January 2015, the Court of Cassation accepted the appeal of the defendants and ordered a retrial. 

Missing defendant 

The judge also warned that one of the defendants in the case, Sohiab Saad, should show up in court in the next session of the trial or else the court would issue a warrant for his arrest. 

Sohiab Saad and two of his friends, including photographer Esraa Mahfouz, have been reported missing according to family and friends since Monday. 

According to their families, Saad, Mahfouz and friend Omar Mohamed were heading to Maadi Monday afternoon when they suddenly disappeared and their mobile phones were closed.

It is believed that the three were arrested and taken to Maadi police station, but the police station has denied this. Twitter hashtags “Where_is_ Esraa_Mahfouz?" and “Where_is_Sohiab_Saad?” were launched to highlight concern about their welfare and whereabouts.

Several Egyptian human rights activists fear that Saad, Mahfouz and Mohamed have been victims of forced disappearance, like a number of political activists recently who went missing with no trace.More to follow 


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