After 13 legal sessions concerning the case of the three Al-Jazeera journalists, Mohamed Fahmy, Peter Greste, and Baher Mohamed (famously known as the ‘Marriott Cell’) they were finally sentenced to three years in prison on Saturday after a lengthy retrial. Baher Mohamed was sentenced to an additional six months and a 5,000 LE fine for possessing a used bulled casing. Australian national, Peter Greste, was sentenced in absentia after being extradited earlier this year.

The journalists had been incarcerated for 410 days before the trial, and the court announced that the time spent in prison would count as part of their sentence served.

Ultimately, after failing to provide adequate evidence to demonstrate that the journalists were affiliated with the terrorist organisation, the ruling judge, Hassan Farid, sentenced them to three years, for broadcasting ‘false news’

Prior to the final session of the retrial, many assumed that the chargers would be dropped. The prisoners and their loved ones voiced their hopes that they could put this horrible incident behind them, with the hashtag #FreeAJStaff

The court verdict was considered a direct attack on press freedoms, with the accused, their families, supporters, and foreign governments expressing their opinion on social media outlets.

The British Ambassador to Egypt weighed in on the verdict

And Egypt’s Foreign Ministry wasn’t too pleased about it

While some wondered why only the Ambassador was called out

Friends and supporters were disappointed, to say the least

As disappointing this verdict is, let’s not forget that there are still 41,000 political prisoners detained and many journalists behind bars

 

#JournalismIsNotACrime

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