Greste’s co-workers released

Greste’s co-workers released

The two Al-Jazeera staff imprisoned in Egypt with Australian reporter Peter Greste have been freed on bail.

Mohamed Fahmy, a Canadian citizen, was released on bail of almost AU$43,000. Baher Mohamed, an Egyptian citizen, was released without a bail amount being set.

Their release follows that of Mr Greste, who was deported this month, after more than 400 days of imprisonment in a Cairo jail.

Mr Fahmy and Mr Mohamed were told they still had a case pending against them. Their next hearing will be on February 23.

After hearing the decision, Mr Mohamed wrote on Twitter: “I am free”.

Heather Allan, head of newsgathering at Al-Jazeera English, said that it was a great day for the organisation, and that she hoped the entire case against the two men would be dropped.

Mr Fahmy, who says he was forced to relinquish his Egyptian citizenship by security officials, said the saga had become “a nightmare” in an address to the judge at the first session of their retrial.

The retrial was announced at the end of December last year, following an original trial in which Mr Greste was sentenced to seven years in prison on charges of defaming Egypt and aiding banned Islamic groups.

Throughout the ordeal, Mr Greste and campaigners for his release have regularly highlighted the plight of his fellow Al-Jazeera detainees. When his release was announced, Mr Greste tweeted: “Keep shouting #FreeAJStaff”.

The three were charged in December, 2013, and convicted. The convictions were later overturned on appeal and a retrial ordered. The original trial was widely regarded as deeply flawed.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, there are nine other Egyptian journalists still in prison.

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