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Egypt Releases Al Jazeera Journalists Ahead of Retrial


An Egyptian court released two Al Jazeera journalists Thursday after adjourning their retrial on charges of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood until February 23.

Cheers and applause erupted in the Cairo courtroom as a judge set bail at $33,000 for Mohamed Fahmy and no bail for his colleague Baher Mohamed, who reacted with a simple statement on Twitter: "I AM FREE."

"Bail is a small step in the right direction, and allows Baher and Mohamed to spend time with their families after 411 days apart," an Al Jazeera spokesman said Thursday.

Fahmy was a dual citizen of Canada and Egypt before giving up his Egyptian citizenship this month in hopes of being released. A third Al Jazeera journalist, Australian Peter Greste, was freed and sent home on February 1.

"This is a huge step forward. Not time to declare it over, but at least you get to go home!" Greste wrote to his detained colleagues on social media after news of their release.

The three men were arrested in December 2013 and later convicted, with Greste and Fahmy given seven-year sentences, and Mohamed, an Egyptian citizen, getting 10 years.

An appeals court ruled last month that prosecutors failed to give sufficient evidence that the journalists supported the Muslim Brotherhood and ordered they get a retrial.

Al Jazeera has insisted the three men did nothing wrong and demanded they be exonerated.