News World Greste’s colleagues get retrial

Greste’s colleagues get retrial

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An Egyptian court has set February 12 as the retrial date for Al Jazeera journalists who were jailed with Australian Peter Greste.

Greste, Canadian Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian Baher Mohamed, all journalists with the Qatari-owned channel, were originally sentenced to up to 10 years in prison for allegedly aiding the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood.

But an appeals court overturned that verdict in January and ordered a retrial, which the judicial official said is to begin on Thursday.

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Greste was deported on February 1 under a presidential decree that allows the authorities to expel foreigners charged in Egypt to face trial in their home countries.

As a result, lawyers said the court was likely to drop proceedings against Greste after the opening session.

In a bid to secure his own deportation, Fahmy has renounced his Egyptian nationality and is awaiting a return to Canada, where he also has citizenship.

However, the third journalist, producer Mohamed, remains in jail as he only has Egyptian nationality.

The three employees of Al-Jazeera English were arrested in December 2013 and tried on allegations of supporting the Brotherhood.

In June last year Greste and Fahmy were jailed for seven years, while Mohamed was sentenced to 10 years in prison before the retrial was ordered.

Canada had said the release of Fahmy was “imminent”, amid reports that it had a team of diplomats in Cairo pressing for his freedom, but he remains in Egyptian custody.

Fahmy’s counsel, the prominent lawyer Amal Clooney, on Saturday sent a letter to Sisi demanding a meeting to press for his release.

His family said in a statement on Sunday that a retrial would be “our worst nightmare, to have to go through another circus of a retrial”.

They said they were disappointed with what they called the Canadian government’s “conservative approach” in lobbying for his release and called on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to intervene.