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Peter Greste

Al-Jazeera journalists Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, who were convicted in Egypt of “spreading false news”, have been sentenced to three years in prison at their retrial in Cairo.

Australian Peter Greste was deported back to Australia earlier this year and was on trial again in absentia.

Egyptian Baher Mohamed and Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy were led away from court after the verdict.

Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed are accused of aiding the banned Muslim Brotherhood group but they strenuously deny the allegations.

Photo EPA

Photo EPA

The three journalists were originally sentenced in July 2014, with Peter Greste and Mohamed Fahmy receiving 7 years and Baher Mohamed getting 10 years.

However, their convictions were overturned in January 2015 and they were freed in February to await retrial.

Giving the verdict on August 29, Judge Hassan Farid said the three men were not registered journalists and had been operating from a Cairo hotel without a license.

The judge handed three-year sentences to Peter Greste and Mohamed Fahmy but gave Baher Mohamed an additional six months.

It is unclear how long Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed will now serve. They were in prison for about a year before being freed.

Lawyers for the three journalists are expected to appeal against the decision.

Peter Greste said in a tweet that he was “shocked” and “outraged” while Al-Jazeera said the verdict was “yet another deliberate attack on press freedom”.

Outside the courtroom, Mohamed Fahmy’s lawyer, Amal Clooney, called on Egypt’s President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi to issue a pardon to the journalists.

“The verdict today sends a very dangerous message in Egypt,” she told reporters.

“It sends a message that journalists can be locked up for simply doing their job, for telling the truth and reporting the news.”

Amal Clooney said she would push for her client, who has given up his Egyptian citizenship, to be deported to Canada.

Al-Jazeera reporter Peter Greste was freed from Egypt prison and deported on February 1.

After 400 days behind bars, Peter Greste landed safely in Cyprus, on his way to his native Australia.

Peter Greste will not rest until his colleagues are released from prison in Egypt, his family says.

He was arrested in 2013 and tried on charges that included spreading false news and aiding the Muslim Brotherhood.

Two al-Jazeera colleagues, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, remain jailed.

Mohamed Fahmy, who holds dual Egyptian and Canadian citizenship, may be freed after having his Egyptian nationality revoked, presidential sources said.

But there are still concerns about Baher Mohamed, an Egyptian who holds no dual nationality.

Peter Greste spoke about his concerns for his colleagues to his family after his release.

Speaking at a press conference in the Australian city of Brisbane, brother Andrew Greste said: “We want to acknowledge that Peter’s two other colleagues are still there.”Peter Greste jailed in Egypt

His father Juris Greste said that they felt very deeply for those left behind.

Andrew Greste also thanked all those who had supported his brother and worked for his release.

“We are small cogs in this massive campaign,” he said.

Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Peter Greste had told her in a telephone conversation that he was eager to return to his family in Brisbane.

“He was immensely relieved and he was desperate to come home to Australia and reunite with his family,” said Julie Bishop.

“From my discussion with him, he was very keen to be back on a beach and lying in the sun in Australia.”

The three journalists had been accused of collaborating with the banned Muslim Brotherhood after the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi by the military in 2013.

All the defendants denied the charges against them and said their trial was a sham.

Mohamed Fahmy and Peter Greste were sentenced to seven years in prison and Baher Mohamed to 10. Their convictions were overturned on January 1, but the men remained in custody pending a retrial.

Peter Greste’s release on Sunday came after a long international campaign.

His family said that he would return to Australia when he felt ready.

His mother, Lois Greste, said she had been quietly dreaming about this moment.

The first hints of Peter Greste’s release came in November, when President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi said he was considering granting pardons to the two foreign al-Jazeera journalists.

He had earlier signed a decree on repatriating foreign prisoners.

Peter Greste’s release was eventually confirmed by a statement issued by the Egyptian interior ministry.

According to campaign group Reporters Without Borders, there are currently 165 journalists imprisoned around the world, in countries including China, Iran, Eritrea, Egypt, Uzbekistan and Russia.

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Cairo’s Court of Cassation has set the appeals hearing of three jailed al-Jazeera journalists for January 1, 2015, says Mohamed Fahmy’s family.

Al-Jazeera journalists Mohamed Fahmy, Baher Mohamed and Peter Greste were jailed for seven years on June 23, 2014.

They were accused of spreading false news and supporting the Islamist group the Muslim Brotherhood.

The court will either uphold the verdict or call for a retrial.

It is thought the Court of Cassation will take one or two sessions to deliver its ruling.

Al-Jazeera journalists Mohamed Fahmy, Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed were sentenced to seven years in jail in Egypt

Al-Jazeera journalists Mohamed Fahmy, Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed were sentenced to seven years in jail in Egypt

If the court rejects the sentences, the case will return to the criminal court for a retrial.

Should it uphold the verdict, the only other alternative is for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to offer a pardon.

Egyptian-Canadian bureau chief Mohamed Fahmy, Australian correspondent Peter Greste and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed were arrested on December 29, 2013.

At the sentencing in June 2014, Mohamed Fahmy received a further three years on charges of possessing “unlicensed ammunition”.

Eleven other defendants, including three foreign journalists, tried in absentia at the same time received 10-year sentences.

The sentencing of the three sparked an international outcry and raised concerns over growing media restrictions in Egypt.

Journalists around the world held silent protests against their imprisonment.

Qatar-base al-Jazeera was banned from operating inside Egypt after the authorities accused it of broadcasting reports sympathetic to former President Mohamed Morsi and the now banned Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Jazeera has consistently denied the allegations.

However, Qatar has supported the Brotherhood and is unpopular with Egypt’s government.

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