Al Jazeera journalists’ retrial adjourned in Cairo
New court date for Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy after convictions for alleged links to Muslim Brotherhood overturned.
The retrial of two Al Jazeera journalists in an Egyptian court for their alleged links to the Muslim Brotherhood has been adjourned because of a lack of eyewitnesses.
The case, which was set to resume on Monday, has been adjourned until March 8.
The Court of Cassation ordered the retrial of Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed after overturning a lower court’s verdict which found them guilty of aiding the outlawed group.
A third Al Jazeera journalist, Australian Peter Greste, who was also to be retried, was deported on February 1 under a presidential decree after languishing in jail for 400 days.
Fahmy and Mohamed were released on bail on February 13 after spending 411 days in prison.
Giving its reasoning for overturning the lower court’s ruling, the Court of Cassation said the “criminal court’s verdict lacked evidence to support its ruling” and “was hasty in pronouncing its verdict”.
It said the first case failed to prove how the journalists had joined the Brotherhood, and failed to prove that an act of “terrorism” actually occurred.
The lower court also “did not wait for medical and legal reports which it had requested after several defendants spoke of being under physical and moral pressure” to make confessions, the appeals court said.
The journalists have repeatedly said that they were being punished for just doing their jobs.
The Canadian government has continued to urge Egypt to release Fahmy, a Canadian citizen, according to Lynne Yelich, Canada’s minister of foreign affairs.
“Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has spoken of his consideration of a general amnesty to advance a humanity built on compassion and peace. We encourage President el-Sisi to immediately resolve Mr Fahmy’s case,” Yelich said.
“The Canadian government, including myself, the former minister of foreign affairs, and our prime minister have been raising the case of Mohamed Fahmy with Egyptian officials at the highest levels for some time, and this government will continue to do so. We are optimistic it will be resolved.”
Separately, an Egyptian court on Monday sentenced Alaa Abdel Fattah, a leading dissident during the country’s 2011 uprising, to five years in prison over an illegal protest.
The remaining 24 defendants in the case received sentences ranging from three to 15 years.