Egyptian Court Adjourns Al Jazeera Journalists Trial For Ninth Time

An Egyptian court is reported to have adjourned the long-running retrial of three Al Jazeera journalists for the ninth time, according to security officers at the courthouse.

The defendants, their lawyers and Al Jazeera have not been formally informed of the decision.

Australian Peter Greste, Egyptian Baher Mohamed, and Canadian Mohamed Fahmy were found guilty in June 2014 of aiding a terrorist organisation, a reference to the Muslim Brotherhood, which was outlawed in Egypt after the army overthrew President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

Greste and Fahmy received seven years, while Mohamed was given 10 years.

In January, an appeals court ordered a retrial, saying the initial verdict lacked evidence against the three journalists working for the Doha-based network’s English channel.

The journalists and Al Jazeera have vigorously denied the accusations.

Greste has already been deported to his native Australia under a law allowing the transfer of foreigners on trial to their home countries but he is still being retried in absentia.

“We are hearing unconfirmed reports that it has been delayed until August and it does seem we are going to have to wait another week,” he said from Sydney.

“It is really difficult for us, we all thought this was going to be the day. We have seen so many unexpected twists and turns in this trial.

“The only thing that any of us is concerned about is this verdict. It is the thing that will define our lives. We cannot make any plans or even think of travelling,” Greste added.

Judge absent

Baher Mohamed, who spoke outside the court, said no officials had informed the defendants of any delay.

“We do not know the reason and did not receive anything from officials. I am stuck here and I don’t really know what to do, the lawyers don’t know what to do either.

“This is really irritating. The judge is not around, he is not here and no one can reach him.

“He is the only leader who can delay or postpone the hearing – we did not receive any information from him and his secretary is not answering her phone,” Mohamed said.

Freed on bail

Fahmy and Mohamed had been on bail ahead of the retrial after spending more than 400 days in detention.

Fahmy renounced his Egyptian nationality hoping he too would be deported like Greste.

The three men have received support from governments, media organisations and rights groups from around the world.

The European People’s Party issued a letter of support earlier this month signed by members of the European Parliament from across the political spectrum and countries.
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