Egypt court adjourns Al Jazeera retrial for ninth time

Cairo court adjourns long-running retrial of Peter Greste, Baher Mohamed, and Mohamed Fahmy until August 2.

Australian journalist Peter Greste smiles as he sits next to his mother Lois and father Juris during media conference in Brisbane
Greste was deported to his native Australia where he was reunited with his family [Reuters]

An Egyptian court has adjourned the long-running retrial of three Al Jazeera journalists for the ninth time, with the next hearing scheduled for August 2.

Australian Peter Greste, Egyptian Baher Mohamed, and Canadian Mohamed Fahmy were found guilty in June 2014 of aiding a terrorist organisation, a reference to the Muslim Brotherhood, which was outlawed in Egypt after the army overthrew President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

Greste and Fahmy received seven years, while Mohamed was given 10 years.

In January, an appeals court ordered a retrial, saying the initial verdict lacked evidence against the three journalists working for the Doha-based network’s English channel.

The journalists and Al Jazeera have vigorously denied the accusations.

Following Thursday’s adjournment, Dr Mostefa Souag, Al Jazeera Media Network’s Acting Director General, said: “We are outraged that the verdict has been adjourned as today was meant to be the final court hearing for our colleagues.

“We, along with others, expected a swift end to the ordeal for Baher Mohamed, Mohamed Fahmy, and Peter Greste.

“All three men have been under immense stress and pressure for the past nineteen months and delaying the final verdict has just continued the strain on them and their families.

“We demand the Egyptian authorities bring an end to the charges against Baher, Peter and Mohamed which should be dropped immediately. Journalism is not a crime.”

Greste has already been deported to his native Australia under a law allowing the transfer of foreigners on trial to their home countries but he is still being retried in absentia.

‘Really difficult’

“It is really difficult for us, we all thought this was going to be the day. We have seen so many unexpected twists and turns in this trial,” Greste said from Sydney after Thursday’s announcement.

“The only thing that any of us is concerned about is this verdict. It is the thing that will define our lives. We cannot make any plans or even think of travelling.”

Fahmy and Mohamed had been on bail ahead of the retrial after spending more than 400 days in detention.

Fahmy renounced his Egyptian nationality hoping he too would be deported like Greste.

The three men have received support from governments, media organisations and rights groups from around the world.

The European People’s Party (EPP) issued a letter of support earlier this month signed by members of the European Parliament from across the political spectrum and countries.

Source: Al Jazeera