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Egypt court releases Al-Jazeera journalists on bail

Mohamed Fahmy

Cairo: An Egyptian court today ordered the release of two remaining Al-Jazeera journalists on bail after they spent more than 400 days in prison, pending their retrial for allegedly supporting the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy was released on 250,000 Egyptian pounds (about USD 32,000) bail while local journalist Baher Mohamed was freed on his own recognisance along with other defendants.

The case was adjourned until February 23, the court said.

The Canadian ambassador was inside the courtroom before the start of the trial.

Three journalists of Qatar-based Al-Jazeera English were arrested and jailed in July 2013 for 3 to 7 years on charges of supporting Brotherhood and spreading false information.

The journalists deny collaborating with the Brotherhood after the overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi by the military in 2013. They maintain they were jailed simply for reporting the news.

Earlier this month, third journalist, Australia’s Peter Greste, was deported after a decree from President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in the same case.

The retrial was ordered by Egypt’s Court of Cassation last month, overturning a lower court’s verdict that had found them guilty of helping the banned Muslim Brotherhood group.

“Bail is a small step in the right direction, and allows Baher and Mohamed to spend time with their families after 411 days apart,” an Al Jazeera spokesman said.

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