Al Jazeera Journalists Face Retrial after Egyptian Court Backs Appeal

Journalists and supporters demonstrate Dec. 29 outside the Egyptian embassy in London as they call for the release of the Al Jazeera reporters

Al Jazeera Journalists Face Retrial after Egyptian Court Backs Appeal
Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

LONDON — Three journalists working for Al Jazeera’s English-language service face a retrial in Egypt after a court backed an appeal against their conviction in June for undermining national security.

The journalists — Peter Greste, a former BBC correspondent, Mohamed Fahmy, an ex-CNN producer, and Baher Mohamed — have been denied bail.

In a statement, an Al Jazeera spokesman commented: “Baher, Peter and Mohamed have been unjustly in jail for over a year now. 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.”

Greste and Fahmy have now applied to be deported to their home countries, Australia and Canada respectively, which would allow them to avoid the retrial. In November the Egyptian president passed a decree that allows foreign defendants to be tried in their home countries instead of Egypt. This option is not open to Baher Mohamed, who is an Egyptian national.

The appeal court’s decision follows Al Jazeera’s closure of its pro-Islamist channel in Egypt, Mubasher Misr (Egypt Direct), which was seen as a conciliatory gesture on the part of Al Jazeera’s owners, the Qatari royal family.