Egypt sets retrial date for 2 Al Jazeera journalists

Egypt sets retrial date for 2 Al Jazeera journalists

[JURIST] A lawyer for the one of the two Al Jazeera journalists currently jailed in Egypt said Sunday that a retrial has been scheduled [Al Jazeera report] for February 12. Earlier this month, Al Jazeera journalist and Australian national Peter Greste was released [JURIST report] from prison and deported after serving 400 days in a Cairo detention facility, but Mohamed Fadel Fahmy and Baher Mohamed remain in custody. While a spokesperson for Al Jazeera stated that the retrial date “should be a day of justice prevailing,” Greste, along with rights organizations [AI report], and Canada’s Minister of State, Lynne Yelich, continue to push for the immediate and unconditional release of Fahmy and Mohamed, who will have spent 407 days in jail by the date of retrial. Fahmy, a foreign national with Canadian and Egyptian citizenship, renounced his Egyptian citizenship at the suggestion of security officials who said it would lead to his freedom. Mohamed holds Egyptian citizenship. In December 2013 Greste, Fahmy and Mohamed were jailed for falsifying news reports and associating with the Muslim Brotherhood [BBC profile; JURIST news archive].

Political conflict in Egypt has been ongoing since the 2011 revolution [JURIST backgrounder] that ousted former president Hosni Mubarak [BBC profile] from power. This unrest led the Egyptian government to enact a law [JURIST report] banning unauthorized protests in November 2013. Since the law was passed, numerous demonstrators have been detained, especially those affiliated with ousted former president Mohammad Morsi [BBC backgrounder] and his Muslim Brotherhood party. Last week an Egyptian court sentenced [JURIST report] 230 protesters to life in prison, finding them guilty of taking part in violent clashes between protesters and security forces in Cairo in December 2011. Last month Egyptian security forces arrested [JURIST report] 516 Muslim Brotherhood supporters. The week before that an Egyptian court ordered a retrial [JURIST report] for 152 Muslim Brotherhood supporters sentenced in a mass trial last year. In December an Egyptian criminal court sentenced 188 Muslim Brotherhood supporters to death [JURIST report] for an August 2013 attack on a police station in the governorate of Giza, widely known as the “Kerdasa massacre.”