Egypt court to hear Al Jazeera staff appeal

Three jailed Al Jazeera journalists to appear in Cairo court to appeal against their convictions.

An Egyptian court will hear an appeal in the case of three Al Jazeera journalists jailed since last year.

Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed will appear in Egypt’s top court on Thursday to appeal against their convictions that triggered global outrage.

“The Court of Cassation could order a retrial, issue a new verdict or acquit the defendants,” Negad al-Borai, Fahmy’s defence lawyer said, adding that the appeal could even be dismissed.

Should the court order a retrial it would only be for the three journalists currently in jail. Six other Al Jazeera staff were also tried and charged in absentia, and the verdict against them would still stand.

President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is able to issue a presidential pardon, but he maintains that he will not interfere in the judicial process.

The Egyptian government has defended the jailing of the journalists, arguing that it was not a political decision and that it is now up to the appeals process to determine what should happen next.

Greste’s parents told ABC news in Australia they were hopeful the three would soon be released, saying they had “confidence in the integrity of the Egyptian appeals system”.

The trio have been imprisoned in Egypt for 369 days, after being falsely accused and then found guilty of aiding the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

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 site.

The journalists have repeatedly said that they were 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.

Al Jazeera has called the accusations against its three journalists absurd and has demanded their release.

Source : Al Jazeera, News Agencies

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