EU group calls for just retrial of Al Jazeera staff

European People’s Party issues letter of support as Egyptian high court is due to announce its verdict in late July.

Al Jazeera reporter Peter Greste talks during interview with Reuters in Sydney
Peter Greste was deported to native Australia in February [Reuters]

A European parliamentary group has called on the Egyptian government to ensure that retrial of Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste is dealt with “justly and accordance with due process”.

The European People’s Party (EPP) issued a support letter on Thursday that was signed by members of the European parliament from across the political spectrum and countries.

“Given that he was deported from Egypt by presidential decree, it is difficult to see how he could possibly meet the requirements of the court to appear in person in Cairo to answer the charges brought against him,” the press release quoted Sandra Kalniete, a member of the parliament and the vice chairwoman of the EPP group, as saying.

The European parliament adopted a resolution on freedom of expression and assembly in Egypt in July last year.

The resolution expressed its concerns over a series of court decisions in Egypt, including the lengthy jail terms then handed down to three Al Jazeera staff, including Greste, Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy.

RELATED: Egypt court to deliver Al Jazeera staff verdict in July

The journalists were charged with aiding a terrorist organisation, a reference to the Muslim Brotherhood, which was outlawed in Egypt after the army overthrew President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

The journalists and Al Jazeera have denied the accusations, saying they were just doing their jobs.

Greste was deported to native Australia in February. Fahmy and Mohamed were released on bail after spending more than a year in custody and remain in Egypt.

Egypt’s high court that ordered the retrial in January is due to announce the verdict at the end of July.

Source: Al Jazeera