Egypt pardons jailed al Jazeera journalists

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CAIRO: Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al Sisi on Wednesday pardoned the jailed Canadian journalist with Al-Jazeera television, Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian producer Baher Muhammad, a presidency official said.

State news agency MENA said the journalist and two others jailed with Fahmy including Muhammad were among a group of 100 pardoned prisoners, including women activists Sana Seif and Yara Sallam.

Earlier on August 29, an Egyptian court sentenced three Al Jazeera reporters to three years in prison, in a shock ruling following global demands for their acquittal.

Fahmy and Egyptian producer Baher Muhammad were present in court. Australian journalist Peter Greste was tried in absentia after his deportation early this year.

At least three other co-defendants, accused of working with Al Jazeera, received similar sentences.

Qatar-based Al Jazeera denounced the verdict against the trio, who were accused of broadcasting false news, as a “deliberate attack on press freedom”.

Their retrial was ordered after an appeals court overturned an initial sentence of seven years in prison, saying the prosecution had presented scant evidence against them.

The journalists were arrested in December 2013, months after the military overthrew president Muhammad Morsi and launched a deadly crackdown on his supporters.

At the time, Qatar, which owns Al Jazeera, was supportive of Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood movement.

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