Egypt expected to deliver verdict in Al Jazeera retrial

2015-07-30 09:41

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Cairo (dpa) - An Egyptian court is expected on Thursday to deliver a verdict in a retrial of Al Jazeera journalists on terrorism-related charges in a case that has raised international concerns about media freedom in the country.

Last year, another court sentenced Australian Peter Greste, Canadian-Egyptian Mohammed Fahmy and their Egyptian colleague Baher Mohammed to seven years in prison each on charges of collaborating with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood movement and spreading false news about Egypt.

Amnesty International dismissed the charges and the trial as "a complete sham" and said the sentences were "a ferocious attack on media freedom".

In January, the verdict was overturned on appeal and a retrial ordered.

The next month, Greste was freed from prison and deported after a decision by President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi.

Street protests

The court handling the retrial subsequently released the two other defendants on bail.

Fahmy told the court that he had been pressed by a senior security official to give up his Egyptian citizenship so he could qualify for deportation under al-Sisi's decree related to foreign defendants and convicts.

Although he did so, Fahmy has been unable to leave Egypt.

The case is seen as stemming from a feud between Egypt and the Gulf emirate of Qatar, a strong backer of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Cairo has repeatedly accused the Qatari-owned Al Jazeera of a favourable bias towards the Muslim Brotherhood, which the military removed from power in 2013 after street protests against the rule of President Mohammed Morsi, a senior leader of the Islamist group.

The Doha-based TV network has denied the accusations, charging that Egypt is trying to muzzle the media.

Read more on:    al jazeera  |  abdel fattah al-sisi  |  egypt  |  north africa

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