Two of the three Al Jazeera journalists that were jailed in Egypt have applied to be deported under a new law after the country’s highest court ordered their retrial but refused to free them as their families had hoped. Reuters report:
Australian Peter Greste, Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian Baher Mohamed were sentenced in June to seven to 10 years in jail for spreading lies to help a “terrorist organization” – a reference to Egypt’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
Egypt’s High Court ordered their retrial on Thursday citing procedural flaws in the original trial, which was condemned by human rights groups and Western governments.
The reporters’ imprisonment is a thorny issue for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who ousted his Islamist predecessor in July 2013 and cracked down on the Brotherhood, as he seeks to prove his commitment to reform.
Their families say they are paying the price for a deterioration in ties between Qatar, which owns Al Jazeera, and Egypt following the Brotherhood’s expulsion from power.
Doha supported the Brotherhood during its year in power but a recent Saudi push to heal the rift had raised expectations the reporters would be freed.