[JURIST] UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] on Thursday welcomed the decision by Egyptian authorities to release on bail [JURIST report] two Al Jazeera journalists awaiting retrial on terror charges. Baher Mohammed and Mohammed Fahmy spent more than 400 days in jail after a court found them guilty for falsifying news reports and associating with the Muslim Brotherhood [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. Ban urged Egyptian authorities to resolve the cases against Mohammed and Fahmy expeditiously, and in accordance with its obligations as a signatory state to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights [text]. The retrial [Daily News Egypt report] of Mohammed and Fahmy will resume February 23.
The men were sentenced to prison terms of 10 years for Mohammed and seven years for Fahmy last June, before Egypt’s Court of Cassation ordered a retrial [JURIST reports] last month. The men were arrested [JURIST report] in December 2013 along with fellow Al Jazeera journalist and Australian national Peter Greste. Earlier this month Greste was released [JURIST report] from the Cairo detention facility and deported, under a law allowing the deportation of foreign nationals to their home countries. 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. Fahmy, who held Canadian and Egyptian citizenship, renounced his Egyptian citizenship at the suggestion of security officials to qualify for deportation to Canada. Mohammed holds Egyptian citizenship only.