Al-Jazeera calls on Egypt to accelerate journalists' retrial

Ahram Online , Thursday 1 Jan 2015

Court of Cassation has accepted the appeal of the jailed journalists and ordered a retrial

Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera producer Baher Mohamed, left, and correspondent Peter Greste, centre, are being held in Egypt (Photo: AP)

Al-Jazeera has called on Egyptian authorities to speed up the retrial of its three jailed journalists, after the court accepted their appeal on Thursday.

"We welcome the court's decision to accept the appeal of our journalists but at the same time we demand that they are immediately released," Mostafa Sawaq, acting general manager of the Qatari media network said in a video statement.

The three – Egyptian-Canadian and Cairo bureau chief Mohamed Fahmy, Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed and Australian correspondent Peter Greste – were sentenced in June to jail terms ranging from seven to 10 years on charges of spreading false news and aiding the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

But despite the Court of Cassation accepting their appeal and ordering a retrial, the three remain behind the bars.

Judicial sources said the release decision was out of this court's jurisdiction.

"Their arrest, the verdict against them and their remaining (in jail) still, in our view, is politicised and thus we wish a political decision would be taken to release them without waiting for a retrial," Sawaq said.

The journalists were arrested in December 2013 from a hotel room in Cairo they were using as an office.

Al-Jazeera, seen as a mouthpiece for the Brotherhood and their supporters, dedicated much of its air time to their protests and anti-government guest speakers.

Their case has brought international anger against Egypt.

A defence lawyer told Ahram Online that a retrial is expected to start within a month. The sessions of the retrial, however, could be extended over months.

The court's decision comes amid a growing rapprochement between Egypt and Qatar after months of soured relations due to the latter's support for Morsi's group.

Last week, Al-Jazeera announced it was taking its controversial Egyptian service Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr channel off air. 


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