Egypt court orders retrial for jailed Al Jazeera journalists | News | DW | 01.01.2015
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Egypt court orders retrial for jailed Al Jazeera journalists

An appeals court in Egypt has ordered a retrial in the case of three Al Jazeera journalists imprisoned there for more than a year. They were arrested in December 2013, accused of aiding the Muslim Brotherhood.

The decision came after a brief appeal hearing in Cairo's Court of Cassation on Thursday morning.

Canadian-Egyptian Mohammed Fahmy, Australian Peter Greste and Egyptian Baher Mohammed of Al Jazeera's English television service were arrested in December 2013, and charged with acting as a mouthpiece for the Muslim Brotherhood following the overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi by the military in 2013.

The Muslim Brotherhood has since been banned in Egypt as a terrorist organization.

"The Court of Cassation has accepted their appeal and ordered a retrial," Greste's defense lawyer Amr Al-Deeb said.

Bail not granted

The journalists were not granted bail and are expected to remain behind bars until a retrial is held before a new court. Lawyers said this could take place within a month.

"They will not be released until they appear before the new chamber, which will decide whether to release them or not," said defense attorney Mostafa Nagy.

The journalists were not present at the hearing, which began at around 9 a.m. local time (0700 UCT) in the Egyptian capital.

Lois Greste, Peter Greste's mother, said the verdict was "not as good as we hoped."

Egyptian authorities offered no immediate comment on the ruling.

In June 2014, Fahmy and Greste were sentenced to seven years in prison, while Mohammed got 10 years. Authorities argued they had aided the outlawed Brotherhood by publishing false news about Egypt.

The verdict drew criticism from international media and human rights groups, which dismissed the trail as a sham.

A thaw in frosty relations between Qatar, which owns the Al Jazeera network, and Egypt had raised hopes the trio could be freed. Doha is seen as a staunch supporter of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood and a critic of the army's takeover of power in 2013.

nm/pfd (Reuters, AFP, AP)