Retrial for Remaining Al-Jazeera journalists

February 9, 2015 4:55 am

An Egyptian court will this week retry Al-Jazeera journalists,
including a Canadian awaiting deportation, a judicial official said,
after his Australian colleague was deported.
Canadian Mohamed
Fahmy and Egyptian , journalists with the Qatari-owned
channel, were originally sentenced to up to 10 years in prison for
allegedly aiding the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood, along with
Australia’s .
But an appeals court overturned that
verdict in January and ordered a retrial, which the judicial official
said is to begin on Thursday.

Peter Greste, right, was released and deported to Australia but
Al-Jazeera English producer Baher Mohamed, left, Canadian-Egyptian
acting Cairo bureau chief will be retried. Photo / AP

Greste was deported on February 1
under a presidential decree that allows the authorities to expel
foreigners charged in and see them instead face trial in their
home countries.
As a result, lawyers said the court was likely to drop proceedings against Greste after the opening session.

In a bid to secure his own deportation, Fahmy has renounced
his Egyptian nationality and is awaiting a return to Canada, where he
also has citizenship.
However, the third journalist, producer Mohamed, remains in jail as he only has Egyptian nationality.
The three employees of Al-Jazeera English were arrested in December 2013 and tried on allegations of supporting the Brotherhood.
In
June last year Greste and Fahmy were jailed for seven years, while
Mohamed was sentenced to 10 years in prison before the retrial was
ordered.
The journalists’ initial trial came against the backdrop
of strained relations between Egypt and Qatar, which supported the
Islamist movement of president Mohamed Morsi, whom then army chief and
now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi deposed in July 2013.
– ‘Worst nightmare’ –
Canada
had said last Monday that the release of Fahmy was “imminent”, amid
reports that it had a team of diplomats in Cairo pressing for his
freedom, but he remains in Egyptian custody.
Fahmy’s counsel, the
prominent lawyer Amal Clooney, on Saturday sent a letter to Sisi
demanding a meeting to press for his release.
His family said in a
statement yesterday that a retrial would be “our worst nightmare, to
have to go through another circus of a retrial.”
They said they
were disappointed with what they called the Canadian government’s
“conservative approach” in lobbying for his release and called on Prime
Minister Stephan Harper to intervene.
Greste, Fahmy and Mohamed
work for Al-Jazeera’s English channel, which operated separately from
the Egyptian and pro-Muslim Brotherhood channel Al-Jazeera Mubashir
Masr.
But the prosecution made no distinction between the channels during the trial.
Their arrest had sparked a global outcry and calls for their release led by Washington and the United Nations.
In
November, Sisi enacted a decree that appeared tailored for Greste and
Fahmy, but not Mohamed: foreigners on trial, or convicted in Egypt,
could be deported to their home countries to stand trial or serve out
their sentences.
Both Australia and Canada have made clear they will not place Greste and Fahmy on trial.
But
the decree’s wording was aimed more at avoiding the impression in Egypt
that the two had been released under international pressure.

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