The two Al-Jazeera staff, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohammed held in Egypt have been released by an Egyptian court on Thursday, February 12, 2015 on the first day of their retrial after spending over a year in prison.
In the ruling Fahmy, who is a Canadian citizen was ordered to pay a bail of 250,000 Egyptian pounds ($33,000) while Mohammed, who is an Egyptian was set free on his own recognisance along with other defendants as the case was adjourned to Monday, February 23, 2015.
The pair, along with colleague Peter Greste – who was recently acquitted – were arrested for allegedly supporting the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and slammed with jail sentences ranging from seven to ten years each.
Fahmy had renounced his Egyptian citizenship so as to benefit from a law which allows foreign defendants to be deported, an option which facilitated Greste’s release.
When Fahmy was allowed out of the caged dock to address the judge, he said: “I didn’t ask to drop my (Egyptian) nationality. A security official visited me and asked I drop my citizenship because the state wanted to get this case done with, it had become a nightmare.” before pulling out an Egyptian flag.
The Al-Jazeera staff took to social media platform, twitter to express their happiness:
I AM FREE
— Baher Ghorab (@Bahrooz) February 12, 2015
— Peter Greste (@PeterGreste) February 12, 2015
— Daniele Hamamdjian (@DHamamdjian) February 12, 2015