8 Feb 2015

Egypt sets retrial date for jailed Al Jazeera journalists

Egyptian authorities have set 12 February as the start of a retrial for two jailed Al Jazeera journalists, the lawyer for one of the journalists says.

Egyptian journalist, Baher Mohamed, along with Australian Peter Greste and Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy were sentenced last year to seven to 10 years on charges including spreading lies to help a terrorist organisation – a reference to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. A month ago, a court ordered their retrial.

Watch: Peter Greste on coping for 400 days in an Egypt jail

Mr Greste was freed last week and deported.

Egyptian security officials last Sunday had indicated that Mr Fahmy could be released “within days”. Mr Mohamed’s lawyer, Mostafa Nagy, however, said today: “The session has been set for February 12, 2015. It is the new session for the retrial.”

‘Renouncing’ Egyptian citizenship

Amal Clooney, who is representing Mr Fahmy, wrote to Egypt’s President Sisi on Friday, claiming that his detention was “illegal”. In a letter, she said that as Mr Fahmy had renounced his Egyptian citizenship, he should be “eligible for transfer.” Mrs Clooney added: “Since Mr Greste’s release, Mr Fahmy’s Egyptian counsel has been informed by an Egyptian government official that Mr Fahmy’s release was to follow, and that it was imminent.

“Despite clear assurances that he would be released, Mr Fahmy remains in detention in Egypt. I therefore plan to visit Cairo in the near future to meet with Mr Fahmy and to discuss the prospects for his release.”

According to campaign group Reporters Without Borders, there are currently 165 journalists imprisoned around the world, in countries including China, Iran, Eritrea, Egypt, Bahrain, Uzbekistan and Russia.