Egypt court frees Al Jazeera journalists on bail
Cairo, Feb 12 (IANS) An Egyptian court Thursday ordered the release of jailed Al Jazeera journalists Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy on bail, media reported.
The country’s Court of Cassation ordered the retrial last month, overturning a lower court’s verdict that had found them guilty of helping the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group, Al Jazeera reported.
“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 spokesperson said.
“The focus though is still on the court reaching the correct verdict at the next hearing by dismissing this absurd case and releasing both these journalists unconditionally,” the spokesperson added.
Judge Hassan Farid said the next hearing would be Feb 23.
A third Al Jazeera journalist, Peter Greste, who was also to be retried, was deported Feb 1 under a presidential decree after spending 400 days in prison.
The three journalists, along with seven colleagues outside the country, were accused of spreading “false news” during their coverage of demonstrations protesting a military toppling of former president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.
Greste, Fahmy and Mohamed were given jail terms of between seven and 10 years.
The journalists have repeatedly pleaded innocence, saying they were punished for doing their jobs.