Egypt says that it will retry two journalists working for Al-Jazeera English who have been jailed for more than a year on charges of “giving a platform” to the banned Muslim Brotherhood. The announcement of the new trial, set to begin on Feb. 12, comes days after the journalists’ colleague, Australian Peter Greste, was suddenly released and deported.
Following Greste’s release on Feb. 1, Mohamed Fahmy, a dual citizen of Canada and Egypt, and Baher Mohamed remained in detention. The trio were arrested in December 2013 and convicted in June.
The three had been charged with “spreading false news,” and aiding the Muslim Brotherhood of former Prime Minister Mohammed Morsi. Greste and Fahmy were sentenced to seven years and Mohamed was given an additional three years on weapons charges.
Outside of Egypt, the convictions were widely viewed as a sham.
The Associated Press reports that:
“Canada’s now-former Foreign Minister John Baird said earlier this month, just prior to his recent resignation, that … Fahmy could be imminently released after renouncing his Egyptian nationality.”
“It was not immediately clear how the retrial would affect that process.”