Egypt sets appeal date for Al Jazeera staff

Jailed Al Jazeera journalists to appear in court on January 1 to appeal against their convictions.

An Egyptian court has set a date for an appeals hearing in the case of three Al Jazeera English journalists jailed since last year.

Al Jazeera said on Tuesday that Mohamed Fahmy, Baher Mohamed and Peter Greste have been scheduled to appear in court on January 1, 2015, to appeal against their convictions.

The trio have been imprisoned in Egypt for 297 days, after being falsely accused and then found guilty of aiding the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

Al Jazeera has dismissed the allegations and has repeatedly called for the release of its staff.

Lawyer Negad Borai, who is representing Fahmy, told the Associated Press news agency he expects Egypt’s Court of Cassation to take one or two sessions to either send the case back to criminal court or uphold the original verdict.

Greste and Fahmy were sentenced to seven years in prison, while Mohamed received an additional three years for having a spent bullet in his possession, which he had picked up at a protest.

The journalists have repeatedly said that they are being punished for just doing their jobs.

The judge who sentenced the journalists released his reasoning in July, saying they were brought together “by the devil” to destabilise the country.

Amnesty International called the trial a “farcical spectacle” and a “ferocious attack on media freedom”.

Since the appeal was filed, another Al Jazeera journalist in a separate case, Ahmed Mansour, was convicted in absentia to 15 years in jail.

Al Jazeera will mark 300 days since the arrest of its journalists on October 24, with 300 seconds of on-air silence.

Source : Al Jazeera

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