Rebecca Hawkes| 05 January 2015
Three Al Jazeera journalists are facing a retrial after Egypt’s highest court accepted their appeal and overruled their conviction on charges related to terrorism.
Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, who have been in jail for over a year, were denied bail by the Cairo Court of Cassation before the case goes back to the Criminal Court.
“They will not be released until they appear before the new chamber, which will decide whether to release them or not,” said Mostafa Nagy, a defence lawyer.
The retrial is expected within a month, defence lawyers said after the appeal hearing on 1 January 2015, which lasted just 30 minutes.
“Baher, Peter and Mohammed have been unjustly in jail for over a year now,” said an Al Jazeera spokesman. “The Egyptian authorities have a simple choice – free these men quickly, or continue to string this out, all the while continuing this injustice and harming the image of their own country in the eyes of the world. They should choose the former.”
Fahmy, a Canadian citizen, and Australian Greste have applied to Egypt’s chief prosecutor to be deported to their home countries under the terms of a new presidential decree. This would allow them to avoid the retrial in Cairo. Mohamed, as an Egyptian national, cannot take this option.
In the US, the Obama administration expressed its concern at the continued detentions.
“We are following this case closely and continue to urge the Egyptian Government to consider all available measures to release these journalists,” said a senior US State Department official.