Al Jazeera has said that the retrial granted today to its jailed journalists should be expedited quickly by the Egyptian authorities. Lawyers say that the appeal process from this point can take another twelve to eighteen months.
After the conviction was overruled by the court of cassation today, an Al Jazeera spokesman said:
“Baher, Peter and Mohammed have been unjustly in jail for over a year now. The Egyptian authorities have a simple choice – free these men quickly, or continue to string this out, all the while continuing this injustice and harming the image of their own country in the eyes of the world. They should choose the former.”
Calls for the release of Al Jazeera staff have been made by the White House, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the European Union, the Australian Government and over 150 rights groups, including Amnesty International, the Committee to Protect Journalists and the International Press Institute.
Over 200,000 people have signed petitions globally. Hundreds of thousands of people have also kept the hashtag #FreeAJStaff viral throughout the last year.
President Sisi has said he is considering using his powers under the Egyptian constitution to release the journalists. This would be separate to the court process. When asked about this possibility in November, he replied “Let us say that this matter is being discussed to solve the issue”. Such a move would be applicable to all of the detained journalists.