You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Jailed Al-Jazeera Journalists Freed In Egypt By Presidential Pardon

Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sissi has issued a presidential pardon to release two Al-Jazeera English journalists, Canadian national Mohamed Fahey and Egyptian reporter Baher Mohammed, who has been first detained in 2013 on charges of spreading “false news” in a long-running case that sparked global outrage.

Long lobbied for by human rights activists including Amal Clooney, who is Fahmy’s lawyer, these  watershed pardons come at the start of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha and on the eve of el-Sissi’s scheduled appearance to deliver a speech before the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

The Egyptian president has also announced on his Facebook page that he will release “100 young people trapped in issues related to the breach of the law on demonstrations and some humanitarian and health cases.” Those convictions stem from a 2013 law against non approved political demonstrations that virtually quashed street activism.

Fahey and Mohammed were originally detained, along with Australian journalist Peter Greste, at the Cairo Marriott hotel on December 29, 2013.  The three respected journalists had been linked by Egyptian prosecutors to supposed student terrorist groups connected with the Muslim Brotherhood, though no evidence was ever provided during several trials.

Greste had been released in February on Sissi’s orders after spending more than 400 days behind bars. His two colleagues had also been released in February, but they had remained in Egypt for a retrial and then placed back behind bars in August.

Al Jazeera’s acting director general Dr. Mostefa Souag in a statement welcomed the release of the two reporters but added that it was “hard to celebrate” because “this whole episode should not have happened in the first place.”

“They’ve lost nearly two years of their lives when they were guilty of nothing except journalism,” he noted.

Souag added that Al Jazeera will continue to call on Egyptian authorities to drop convictions against seven of its journalists, including Greste, tried in absentia.

Amal Clooney in a statement said she was “delighted” by the pardon.

“This is a historic day in Egypt where the government has finally corrected a longstanding injustice,” she enthused.

The two reporters were freed from jail shortly after the presidential pardon was announced and released by police in a Cairo suburb, the Associated Press reported.

“We have not digested the fact that we are free, we don’t have to worry about anything else,” Fahmy told the AP.

“Our families have suffered so much since the beginning of this trial, and we’re very happy that el-Sissi took this action and released us.”


More TV

  • Joseph Mawle

    'Lord of the Rings' Series at Amazon Casts 'Game of Thrones' Alum Joseph Mawle

    Amazon’s upcoming “Lord of the Rings” series has cast Joseph Mawle in a main role, Variety has confirmed with sources. Mawle joins previously announced cast members Will Poulter and Markella Kavenagh. Official details of Mawle’s characters are being kept under wraps, but sources say he will play a villain named Oren. Amazon declined to comment. Reps [...]

  • TV News Roundup: Jacob Tobia Joins

    TV News Roundup: Jacob Tobia Joins 'She-Ra and the Princess of Power'

    In today’s TV news roundup, “She-Ra and the Princess of Power” Season 4 adds Jacob Tobia, and The Weather Channel announces the premiere date for its climate change special with the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.  CASTING Jacob Tobia has joined Netflix‘s “She-Ra and the Princess of Power.” Voicing Double Trouble, Tobia joins Aimee Carrero, Karen Fukuhara, [...]

  • TV Ratings: 'Watchmen' Premiere Draws 1.5

    TV Ratings: 'Watchmen' Premiere Draws 1.5 Million Viewers

    Who will watch the Watchmen? Turns out 1.5 million people, that’s who. The debut of the highly anticipated HBO series delivered that many sets of eyeballs across all the premium cabler’s platforms on Sunday night. For comparison, Sunday’s premiere was up 21% in linear on last week’s “Succession” season finale, and up 20% from the [...]

  • Variety Sundance Portrait Studio

    Melanie Lynskey Joins Showtime Pilot 'Yellowjackets' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Melanie Lynskey has been cast in one of the main roles of the Showtime ensemble drama pilot “Yellowjackets,” Variety has learned exclusively. The project tells the story of a team of talented high school girls soccer players who survive a plane crash deep in the Ontario wilderness. The series chronicles their descent from a complicated [...]

  • Writers vs Agents Packaging War WGA

    Writers Guild Boosting Efforts in Project Development Amid Agency Standoff

    The Writers Guild of America, locked in a six-month standoff with major talent agencies, has announced that it’s boosting efforts at gathering TV, streaming and film project development data to help members find new employment opportunities. The WGA made the disclosure in a message to members on Monday. The guild directed its 15,000 members to fire [...]

  • Amy Poehler Jessica Goldberg

    Amy Poehler, Jessica Goldberg Team for 'The Mother-in-Law' Put Pilot at NBC

    Jessica Goldberg is set to write a drama with a put pilot order at NBC that Amy Poehler will executive produce. The project is titled “The Mother-in-Law,” based on the novel of the same name by Sally Hepworth. It is described as a thriller centered around a woman’s complicated relationship with her husband’s family that [...]

  • Beau Willimon Hulu The First

    Beau Willimon, Katie Cappiello to Produce 'Slut' Series Adaptation at Netflix

    Playwright Katie Cappiello is teaming with “House of Cards” creator Beau Willimon to bring an adaptation of her 2013 play “Slut” to the small screen. The show, titled “Grand Army,” is set up at Netflix with Odessa A’zion set to lead the cast. “Grand Army” follows five students at the largest public high school in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content