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Sisi says possible pardon for Jazeera reporters ‘under study’

November 20, 2014

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said Thursday that the possibility of granting presidential pardons to three jailed Al-Jazeera journalists was being considered.

“This issue is under study,” Sisi said in an interview with France 24.

Asked if they will be pardoned soon, he said: “If we find that this is appropriate for Egyptian national security, then we will do it.”

Sisi’s remarks came after he last week signed a decree allowing for the extradition of foreigners charged with a crime or sentenced in Egypt.

An Egyptian court in June handed down jail terms of between seven and 10 years to the three journalists.

Australian Peter Greste, Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fadel Fahmy and Egyptian Mohamed Baher were convicted of supporting the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood, and of spreading false information.

Sisi has previously stressed that he does not interfere in Egyptian court rulings, but he has mentioned more than once that he wished the journalists had been deported rather than prosecuted.

An Egyptian court is scheduled to hear an appeal of their convictions on January 1.

Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.