Egypt sets retrial date for jailed Al Jazeera staff

Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy to appear in court on February 12.

Baher Mohamed and MOhamed Fahmy

Egyptian authorities have set a date for the retrial of jailed Al Jazeera journalists Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy.

The two journalists will appear in court on February 12 after spending 407 days in prison. 

An Al Jazeera spokesman said the retrial “should be a day of justice prevailing.”

“Baher and Mohamed have been unjustly jailed for over a year, even though the entire world knows they are innocent. With a date now set for the retrial the Egyptian authorities know exactly what to do – throw the entire case out and give Baher and Mohamed their freedom which has been denied to them for more than 400 days”. 

Baher Mohamed, a producer, and Al Jazeera’s Cairo bureau chief Mohamed Fahmy, were jailed after being falsely accused of colluding with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

They were arrested along with Peter Greste in Cairo on December 29, as they covered the aftermath of the army’s removal of Mohamed Morsi from the presidency in July 2013.

Greste, Al Jazeera’s East Africa correspondent, was released on February 1 after being jailed for 400 days.

The veteran journalist has since vowed to continue the fight to release his two colleagues, whom he described as brothers.

Campaign to continue

Fahmy, an Egyptian-Canadian, is serving a seven-year jail term, while Mohamed, an Egyptian national, was sentenced to 10 years.

Fahmy renounced his Egyptian citizenship after security officials said it would lead to his freedom.

Fahmy’s family told Al Jazeera on Sunday the decision had left him demoralised.

“Mohamed [Fahmy] never requested that he drop his citizenship. The authorities visited him before the appeal hearing on January 1 and made a deal with him to renounce it in return for his freedom claiming this was the only way out for him and Peter. It was one of the most difficult decisions he has ever taken that has left him demoralised.”

Canada’s Minister of State, Lynne Yelich, said she was deeply concerned a “re-trial date has been set and called for “the immediate release of Fahmy”.

Al Jazeera Media Network has called on Egypt to have all of its journalists exonerated, and the convictions against its other staff tried in absentia to be lifted.

Calls for the release of the Al Jazeera staff have previously been made by the White House, the UK foreign ministry, the EU, the Australian government and more than 150 rights groups, including Amnesty International, the Committee to Protect Journalists and the International Press Institute.

Source: Al Jazeera