29 Aug 2015

Al-Jazeera journalists sentenced to prison at retrial

9:39 pm on 29 August 2015

Three al-Jazeera journalists convicted in Egypt of "spreading false news" have been sentenced to three years in prison at their retrial in Cairo.

Al-Jazeera news channel's Australian journalist Peter Greste, left, and his colleagues, Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, centre, and Egyptian Baher Mohamed listen to the original verdict in June.

Al-Jazeera news channel's Australian journalist Peter Greste, left, and his colleagues, Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, centre, and Egyptian Baher Mohamed listen to the original verdict in June. Photo: AFP

Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian Baher Mohamed were in court to hear the verdict.

Australian Peter Greste was deported to Australia earlier this year and was on trial again in absentia.

They are accused of aiding the banned Muslim Brotherhood group but they strenuously deny the allegations.

An image of journalists Mohamed Fahmy (left), Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed  on a big screen at a rally in Melbourne last year calling for their release.

An image of journalists Mohamed Fahmy (left), Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed on a big screen at a rally in Melbourne last year calling for their release. Photo: AFP

The three journalists were originally sentenced in July 2014, with Mr Greste and Mr Fahmy receiving seven years and Mr Mohamed getting 10 years.

But their convictions were overturned in January this year and they were freed in February to await retrial.

'Shocked, outraged'

Giving the verdict on Saturday, the judge said the three men were not registered journalists and had been operating from a Cairo hotel without a licence.

He handed three-year sentences to Mr Greste and Mr Fahmy but gave Mr Mohamed an additional six months.

Mr Fahmy and Mr Mohamed were led away after the verdict but it is unclear how long they will now serve. They were in prison for about a year before being freed.

Mr Greste said in a tweet that he was "shocked" and "outraged" by the verdict, which he described as "so wrong".

In a statement, al-Jazeera said it was "yet another deliberate attack on press freedom".

"It is a dark day for the Egyptian judiciary; rather than defend liberties and a free and fair media they have compromised their independence for political reasons," it added.

- BBC