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Egypt court denies bail to Al Jazeera staff

Cairo court adjourns trial a fourth time for three journalists, as they approach 100 days since their arrest.

Last updated: 31 Mar 2014 22:41
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Three Al Jazeera English journalists have been denied bail by a court in Egypt, after spending nearly 100 days in jail since their arrest.

Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy, and Baher Mohamed, who are being held in a Cairo prison, appeared in court for the fourth time on Monday. The court was adjourned until April 10.

The three men are charged with spreading false news and aiding the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood.

Al Jazeera rejects the charges against its staff and continues to call for their immediate release.

Greste and seven co-defendants appeared in a caged dock wearing white prison uniforms, the AFP news agency reported.

The judge allowed the journalists out of the cage during the session, and they were able to address the court directly.

Greste told the court that he was a correspondent with 30 years of experience, and had no connection to the Muslim Brotherhood, and Fahmy told the judge: "I ask you to find us innocent."

"After three hearings, it's apparent that there's no case against us. No witness has anything that incriminates us," Fahmy told AFP, just minutes before the day's proceedings began.

Greste's brother Mike said his brother was "strong... but 100 days in prison must have left its effect on him".

Monday's hearing comes a day after Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim accused an Al Jazeera editor of helping to leak classified intelligence documents, in a separate espionage trial involving ousted President Mohamed Morsi.

Global outcry

The high-profile case, in which 17 others are also charged, has sparked a global outcry and fuelled fears of a crackdown on the press by the military-installed authorities.

Abdullah al-Shami, from Al Jazeera Arabic channel, has been imprisoned for more than six months without charge and has been on a hunger strike since January 23.

Al Jazeera’s correspondents Sue Turton and Dominic Kane, who covered events in Egypt and are now abroad, are being tried in absentia.

Governments and institutions including Australia, the US, the EU and the UN have called for the release of the journalists, and for press freedom to be upheld in Egypt.

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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