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Egypt court ruling in Jazeera retrial on July 30

June 29, 2015

An Egyptian court said Monday it will deliver its verdict on July 30 in the retrial of three Al-Jazeera journalists who were previously sentenced to up to 10 years in jail.

Australian Peter Greste, Canadian Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian Baher Mohamed were sentenced last year on charges of supporting the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood movement during their coverage of the turmoil following the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.

An appeals court later ordered a retrial, saying the lower court’s verdict was not supported by evidence.

Greste has already been deported under a law allowing the transfer of foreigners on trial to their home countries but he is still a defendant in the retrial.

Fahmy and his Egyptian producer Mohamed, who are in Egypt, were freed on bail ahead of their retrial.

In a session on Monday, the court said it would issue its ruling on July 30 in the retrial.

The three journalists were arrested in December 2013 during a crackdown on supporters of Morsi, who was ousted by then army chief and now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi after mass street protests against his sole year of divisive rule.

Their initial trial came against the backdrop of strained ties between Egypt and Qatar, which supported Morsi’s government.

The three were charged with spreading “false news” during their coverage of demonstrations, and authorities also accused them of working without valid accreditation.

Fahmy has sued his Qatari employer for $100 million, accusing the Doha-based Al-Jazeera of negligence and support for the blacklisted Islamists.

In a separate case, German authorities last week detained for two days another Al-Jazeera journalist, Ahmed Mansour, as he tried to board a flight in Berlin to Qatar.

Mansour, who was on assignment in Germany at the time, said he was arrested because of “politics” and has called on German authorities to investigate his detention.

He was released after being detained following a request from the Egyptian government.

Mansour was sentenced last year by an Egyptian court in absentia to 15 years in prison on torture and other charges which he has rejected as “absurd”.

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