Egypt releases imprisoned Al-Jazeera reporter
The three were convicted on terrorism charges and for spreading false information, faking reports to show that the country was on the verge of civil war and aiding the Brotherhood's goal of portraying Egypt as a failed state. Mohammed received an additional three years for his possession of a spent bullet he had picked up as a souvenir.
Three other foreign reporters received year sentences in absentia. Twelve other co-defendants were sentenced to between seven and 10 years, some of them in absentia. An appeals court overturned their verdict in January and ordered a retrial. No date has been set for the case. During the five-month trial, prosecutors presented no evidence backing the charges, at times citing random video footage found with the defendants that even the judge dismissed as irrelevant.
The Al-Jazeera journalists' arrest was part of a broad crackdown against Islamists in which hundreds have been killed and thousands arrested following the ouster of Morsi.
Many of the leading activists behind the uprising that brought down President Hosni Mubarak have also been jailed for violating a law banning unauthorized protests. According to a law passed late last year, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi — who as military chief overthrew Morsi amid popular protests against the Islamist leader's yearlong rule — has the power to deport foreign defendants or convicts if it's considered to be in the interest of national security.
The law was seen as providing a potential legal instrument with which to free the journalists. El-Sissi had repeatedly said he wants to end the case, which has prompted a storm of international criticism.
Greste, 49, had only been in Egypt for a few weeks when he was detained. Fahmy had taken up his post as an acting bureau chief only a couple of months before his arrest. Greste's hometown is Brisbane, Australia, but he now lives in Nairobi.
He had to put off his marriage plans because of the trial. Mohammed's wife gave birth to a child while he was in prison. He will not benefit from the deportation law because he does not have another nationality. His wife, Jehane, said she couldn't imagine that his colleagues would be set free while he languishes in jail.
It is the same case," she told The Associated Press. A Cairo airport official says Greste has left Egypt on a flight to Cyprus after his release from prison. The agency said his release on Sunday, after more than a year behind bars, followed a presidential "approval" and both said it was coordinated with the Australian Embassy in Cairo. Monday, Sep 17th 5-Day Forecast.
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