Two of the three journalists from Al Jazeera that are in jail in Egypt have sent applications to be deported under new legislation after the highest court in the country ordered the retrial of the two but did not give them freedom as they had hoped.
Peter Greste who is Australian, Mohamed Fahmy who is Canadian-Egyptian and Baher Mohamed who is Egyptian were each sentenced last June to 7 to 10 years behind bars for the spreading of lies to aid a terrorist organization, a reference to the outlawed Egyptian organization the Muslim Brotherhood.
On Thursday, the High Court in Egypt ordered that the three receive a retrial citing flaws in procedure in the first trial, which was condemned by Western governments and human rights organizations.
The imprisonment of the reporters is a touchy issue for Abdel Fattah al-Sisi the President of Egypt, who ousted his predecessor during an uprising in July of 2013 and immediately started to crack down on the Muslim Brotherhood.
The families of the reporters are saying the three are paying the price of a deterioration of relations between Egypt and Qatar following the expulsion from power of the president.
The Brotherhood was supported by the Doha government during its one year in power. However, a recent push by the Saudi’s to heal the rift amongst the two had increased expectations that the three would be released.
The law approved in November allows for foreign suspects or convicts to be transferred from Egypt to their country to serve out the sentences they received.
It was unclear how it might work in the case of the Al Jazeera journalists since it has not yet be used and no precedents have been made.
One of the journalists’ lawyer said he had presented the country’s prosecution with the response, but no one responded promptly and would make another on Friday.
Adel a brother to Fahmy said that the lawyers had formally asked the presidency of Egypt and the prosecution to either deport him or pardon him.
Despite much criticism in the cases, President al-Sisi had not intervened directly citing judicial independence.