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Egypt Postpones Verdict for Al Jazeera Journalists

FILE - Canadian Al-Jazeera English journalist Mohammed Fahmy, listens to his lawyer, Khaled Abou Bakr during his retrial in a courtroom, of Tora prison, in Cairo, Egypt, June 1, 2015.

An Egyptian court postponed a session Thursday where it was due to announce a verdict in the retrial of three Al Jazeera journalists charged with supporting the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

Al Jazeera said it is "extremely angry" that the Cairo court postponed the verdict for Canadian national Mohamed Fahmy, Egyptian Baher Mohamed and Australian Peter Greste. A new session is expected to take place next week.

The network has maintained that the journalists were doing their jobs in reporting news when they were arrested in December 2013. The three men were later convicted, with a judge sentencing Greste and Fahmy to seven years in prison and Mohamed to 10 years.

An appeals court ruled in January that they should be given a new trial after prosecutors failed to provide sufficient evidence to show they supported the Brotherhood.

The proceedings have been delayed several times, including Thursday's postponement that court officials attributed to the judge in the case being sick.

Greste was freed and sent back to Australia in February, while Mohamed and Fahmy remain free in Egypt on bail.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, one of several press freedom groups to criticize the proceedings, said the three men "have been persecuted enough" for doing their jobs.

"Despite widespread criticism of the Al Jazeera case, Egyptian authorities continue to try to suppress the flow of information by pressuring, harassing, and jailing journalists working for a range of news outlets," said Sherif Mansour, CPJ's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator.

CPJ said Egypt is holding at least 18 journalists in jail in connection with their work.

The Muslim Brotherhood has been the subject of a crackdown by the government of President Abdel Fattah El-Sissi since he led the ouster of former Islamist leader Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.