Court delays verdicts on Al-Jazeera journalists

Al-JazeeraVERDICTS in the retrial of three Al-Jazeera journalists in Egypt previously jailed for allegedly aiding the banned Muslim Brotherhood have been delayed.

Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy, Egyptian Baher Mohamed and Australian Peter Greste were sentenced to up to 10 years in prison in June 2014.

Their convictions for spreading false news were overturned on appeal and they were released on bail in February.

Al-Jazeera said it was “extremely angry” at the latest delay. Mr. Greste, who was deported to Australia and was due to be tried in absentia, said it was “incredibly frustrating”. Mr. Mohamed said he had been told by court officials that there would be no sessions today, adding he was “disappointed” at the delay.

State media said proceedings would re-open on August 2, although there has been no official confirmation and other reports have suggested they could be pushed back further.

The journalists strenuously deny collaborating with the Muslim Brotherhood, which is considered to be a terrorist group, after the overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi by the military in 2013. They say they were jailed for doing their jobs.

Mr. Fahmy was Cairo bureau chief at the time of his arrest and spent 411 days in custody. He told the BBC that “factors other than evidence” were likely to play a part in “this circus of a retrial”. “I hope the judge understands the international outcry and support we have will only increase and make Egypt look bad and even worse if he puts us back in prison,” he added. “Me, Peter and Baher have become like brothers.

He is fighting the battle in Australia and me and Baher are still here.” He said the rift between Egypt and Qatar, where the Al-Jazeera network is based, was worse than ever.

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