Egypt Frees Al Jazeera Journalists on Bail

An Egyptian court ordered that two journalists from Al Jazeera be freed on bail, at the beginning of their retrial on charges of spreading false news in an attempt to help a terrorist organization.

Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy have been imprisoned since June of last year. They were imprisoned with Peter Greste an Australian colleague when an appeals court overturned the three convictions in January.

Greste was released last week under a law that allows deportation of foreigners to their countries of origin.

Fahmy gave up his citizenship in Egypt to be qualified for deportation back to Canada, but Mohamed holds only Egyptian citizenship.

The three journalists have denied collaborating with the Muslim Brotherhood following the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi in July of 2013 by the military. They have said all along, they were jailed for reporting the news.

The journalists’ first trial received worldwide condemnation and on January 1, the Court of Cassation handed down a ruling that the criminal court was hasty in announcing its verdict.

On Monday, a Court of Cassation judge said that prosecutors did not present conclusive evidence of the defendants helping or promoting the Muslim group.

He also announced that the first trial did not investigate the claims that the three defendants gave testimony while under duress. Because of this, the court cannot show how wrong or right the verdict is.

The families of the two journalists worry that the second time around the process might not be any fairer. Fahmy’s relatives described the retail as a nightmare.

Canadian diplomatic officials called for Fahmy’s immediate release, saying that assurance had been made that he would be released when Greste was freed.

Marwa Omara Fahmy’s fiancée said that she blamed the Canadian embassy and Canadian government for not helping enough. She said the embassy keeps saying not to worry, as he will be replaced in just a few days, so he resigned from her work and was ready to leave with him, and his freedom has never come.

Mohamed’s wife said this case should have concluded with the release and departure of Greste and hoped her husband will be freed soon. She called it unjust for him to be tried when a colleague who was also convicted is already freed.

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