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Al-Sisi promises pardon of Al Jazeera journalists - Daily News Egypt

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Al-Sisi promises pardon of Al Jazeera journalists

Egypt respects judiciary and I can’t interfere to pardon them until final verdict released, Al-Sisi said


Australian journalist Peter Greste (3-L) of Al-Jazeera and his colleagues stand inside the defendants cage during their trial for allegedly supporting the Muslim Brotherhood at Cairo's Tora prison on March 5, 2014. The high-profile case that sparked a global outcry over muzzling of the press is seen as a test of the military-installed government's tolerance of independent media, with activists fearing a return to autocracy three years after the Arab Spring uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.   (AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI)
Australian journalist Peter Greste (3-L) of Al-Jazeera and his colleagues stand inside the defendants cage during their trial for allegedly supporting the Muslim Brotherhood at Cairo’s Tora prison on March 5, 2014. 
(AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI)

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said he will use his power to pardon the detained Al Jazeera journalists after the trial has finished.

In an interview with London-based newspaper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat published on Saturday, Al-Sisi commented on the detained Al Jazeera journalists’s case.

“We are in a country respecting the judiciary and I can’t interfere to release them until the final verdict has released,” Al-Sisi said. “I’ll use the presidential pardon after the trail’s sessions have finished.”

The tension in Egypt’s relations with Qatar and Turkey reached a peak after the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi in August 2013, with both Qatar and Turkey backing the Islamists. Al-Sisi said that Egypt cannot insult countries even if tensions are temporarily found.

Last November, Al-Sisi approved a law allowing foreign journalists to be deported to their home countries before an Egyptian court issues final verdicts in their cases.

The three Al Jazeera journalists, Australian Peter Greste, Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy, and Egyptian Baher Mohamed, were initially sentenced to between seven and ten years imprisonment.

Fahmy, who gave up his Egyptian citizenship, was released on a EGP 250,000 bail. Mohamed, who has only Egyptian citizenship, was released without bail. Greste was freed and deported on 1 February, after spending 400 days in prison.

The detained journalists ignored all the accusations they were charged with, expressing that they were doing their work.

They had been charged with aiding a “terrorist group”, referring to the now banned Muslim Brotherhood, tarnishing Egypt’s image abroad and threatening Egypt’s national security. The journalists were arrested on 26 of December 2013, spending over a year in prison.

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