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Egypt Sets Retrial Date for 2 Al Jazeera Journalists

  • VOA News

FILE - Al-Jazeera English producer Baher Mohamed, left, and Canadian-Egyptian acting Cairo bureau chief Mohammed Fahmy appear in court during their trial on terror charges, in Cairo, Egypt.

FILE - Al-Jazeera English producer Baher Mohamed, left, and Canadian-Egyptian acting Cairo bureau chief Mohammed Fahmy appear in court during their trial on terror charges, in Cairo, Egypt.

Egyptian authorities have set February 12 as the start of the retrial for the two remaining jailed Al Jazeera journalists.

A lawyer for one of the journalists made the announcement Sunday.

Egyptian journalist Baher Mohamed and Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy were sentenced last year to 10 and seven years in jail, respectively. Their retrial was ordered last month.

They were arrested with Australian Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste in December 2013 under charges they aided the banned Muslim Brotherhood and spread false news, though prosecutors provided little evidence for the accusations.

Greste was freed and deported from Egypt last week after spending 400 days in jail. He said his time in detention was tough physically and mentally. But he added that he is in "pretty good health" and that he and his colleagues were not abused while in jail.

Tough decision

At a news conference after returning home to Australia, Greste spoke of the difficulty in leaving behind his colleagues in jail.

"It was tough, you know. We had discussed this prospect. We knew that there was a chance that one of us would leave and some of the others would have to stay ... that does not make it any easier," Greste said.

The arrests and convictions of the journalists brought condemnation from rights groups and other governments.

Al Jazeera insists its employees were doing their jobs reporting the news, and said after Greste's release that all three must be exonerated.

Last week, Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird said Fahmy's release was "imminent."

Egyptian officials have also hinted Fahmy could soon be deported. His family said this could happen on the condition that he renounce his Egyptian citizenship, which he did last week.

It is less clear whether Mohamed will be released, since he possesses no second citizenship.

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