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Al-Jazeera Journalists Sentenced to Three Years in Prison in Egypt

Al-Jazeera Journalists Sentenced to Three Years in Prison in Egypt

Peter Grest (right) along with Mohamed Fahmy (center) and Baher Mohamed (left) during their first trial in 2014.
Peter Greste (right) along with Mohamed Fahmy (center) and Baher Mohamed (left) during their first trial in 2014.

Al-Jazeera journalists Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, Baher Mohamed and Peter Greste have been sentenced to three years in prison. Baher Mohamed received an additional six month sentence.

The Judge said the defendants had spread false news and were not registered as journalists in Egypt. The Judge said that the defendants “are not journalists and are not registered with Egypt’s press syndicate or the State Information Service,” before adding that the defendants possessed unlicensed devices that were used to broadcast false news which harmed the country.

Australian journalist Peter Greste had been released in February and deported under an order by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.

Today’s verdict saw the attendance of officials from the Embassies of Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. International lawyer Amal Clooney also attended the trial to support Mohamed Fadel Fahmy.

According to a judicial source, the sentencing can be appealed once again by the defendants. A year in prison in Egypt translates to between nine and ten months.

The journalists had been accused of paying 16 suspected Muslim Brotherhood members who were charged with belonging to a terrorist organization. The prosecution also accused the journalists of defaming Egypt and broadcasting false news while working with Al-Jazeera.

Al-Jazeera’s Greste, Fahmy and Mohamed spent 400 days behind bars while awaiting trial and retrial. However, in late 2014, the Court of Cassation dropped their prison sentence, which ranged from seven to ten years, and ordered a retrial.

This story is developing.

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