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Al-Jazeera journalists freed from Egypt prison: families

February 13, 2015

Two Al-Jazeera journalists were freed Friday from an Egyptian prison pending retrial, their families said, after spending more than a year in jail in a case that provoked global uproar.

A Cairo court on Thursday ordered the release of Canadian Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, an Egyptian, who are facing retrial on charges of supporting the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood.

“We finished the procedures for the release of my brother a short while ago,” Mohamed’s brother Assem told AFP.

“He is at home for the first time in more than a year”.

Fahmy’s brother Adel posted on Twitter: “My brother has been released from the police station! I am going on holiday before they arrest him again!”

Fahmy, Mohamed and Australian Peter Greste were arrested in December 2013 and originally sentenced to between seven and 10 years in jail for allegedly aiding the Muslim Brotherhood organisation of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.

Their initial trial came against the backdrop of strained ties between Egypt and Qatar, where Al-Jazeera is based.

Greste has since been deported from Egypt under a decree allowing foreigners to face trial or serve their sentences in their home countries, signed by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Fahmy and Mohamed must appear in court again on February 23, for a retrial ordered last month when a court said there was insufficient evidence to support their original conviction.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the pair’s release, urging authorities to free other journalists “in accordance with Egypt’s international obligations to protect the freedoms of expression and association”.

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