Retrial date set for Al-Jazeera journalists

2015-02-09 08:40
Mohammed Fahmy. (Hamada Elrasam, AP)

Mohammed Fahmy. (Hamada Elrasam, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cairo - Egypt will hold a retrial for two Al-Jazeera English journalists still imprisoned there beginning Thursday, court officials said on Sunday, throwing into question one of their fates after authorities deported their Australian colleague.

Many believed Mohammed Fahmy, the satellite channel's Cairo bureau chief who recently gave up his Egyptian citizenship, would be deported like Australian Peter Greste.

News of the retrial of Fahmy and his Egyptian colleague Baher Mohammed, confirmed by court officials who spoke on condition of anonymity as they weren't authorized to speak to journalists, threw that into question.

The trial date "represents our worst nightmare, to have to go through another circus of a retrial", Fahmy's family said in a statement. They said Fahmy, also a Canadian citizen, had given up his Egyptian citizenship as part of a deal with prosecutors to be deported.

Canadian minister of state for consular affairs Lynne Yelich said Canada was "deeply concerned" by the announcement, coming "despite assurances that Mr Fahmy would be released along with his colleague, Peter Greste".

"Canada calls for the immediate release of Mr Fahmy," Yelich said in a statement. "I have ... continued to raise this government's concerns regarding Mr Fahmy's case with senior Egyptian officials and I will continue to do so. We remain hopeful that Mr Fahmy's case will be resolved in a timely manner."

Greste, now home in Australia, was deported 1 Febraury under a new law that appears to have been tailored to the Al-Jazeera case. It allows Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to deport foreigners any time during their prosecution.


Police arrested the three journalists in December 2013. Prosecutors filed charges accusing them of being involved in terrorism and for spreading false information, though at trial no real evidence was presented against them. Greste and Fahmy received a seven-year prison sentence while Mohamed received a 10-year sentence for also being found with a spent bullet casing.

The journalists, as well as Al-Jazeera and human rights groups, said they were arrested simply for doing their jobs as reporters. Ties between Qatar and Egypt also strained following the military's 2013 ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

"Baher and Mohamed have been unjustly jailed for over a year, even though the entire world knows they are innocent," Al-Jazeera said on its website. "With a date now set for the retrial the Egyptian authorities know exactly what to do: Throw the entire case out and give Baher and Mohammed their freedom which has been denied to them for more than 400 days."

Yet the new move to retry the pair raised new fears about the case. Baher's wife, Jehan Rashed, already has begun campaigning to win her husband foreign citizenship out of fear he could be left behind otherwise.

"I wish that someone can give me another nationality" for Mohammed, she told The Associated Press on Thursday. "Freedom is more precious than nationality."

Read more on:    abdel-fattah el-sissi  |  egypt  |  north africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.