Egypt court orders release of Al Jazeera journalists on bail
With reporting from Peter Kovessy
After more than a year in jail, two Al Jazeera English journalists in Egypt have been ordered released on bail by a Cairo court.
However, the case against Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed has not been dismissed, and the two are expected to return to court on Feb. 23 for their ongoing re-trial.
Commenting on today’s development, an Al Jazeera spokesman said in a statement:
“Bail is a small step in the right direction, and allows Baher and Mohamed to spend time with their families after 411 days apart. The focus though is still on the court reaching the correct verdict at the next hearing by dismissing this absurd case and releasing both these fine journalists unconditionally.”
Fahmy, Mohamed and colleague Peter Greste were arrested in December 2013 and sentenced last summer to serve seven to 10 years in prison for spreading false news and supporting a terrorist group while covering protests against the overthrow of former president Mohamed Morsi.
The trio have maintained their innocence.
Greste, an Australian, was suddenly released and deported from Cairo earlier this month.
Fahmy, a dual Canadian-Egyptian who has renounced his Egyptian citizenship, was released today on 250,000 Egyptian pound bail ($32,251).
Mohamed, an Egyptian, did not have to pay to post bail, the Guardian reports.
Reaction online to the bail announcement was met with joy by many of the journalists’ colleagues and supporters:
Greste himself also cheered for the release of his peers: