Al Jazeera journalists’ fate still uncertain after a year in jail
30 Dec 2014
For three Al-Jazeera English journalists locked up in Egypt for more than a year over terrorism-related charges, widely seen as false and politically motivated, a possible thaw in tensions between Egypt and Qatar - where Al-Jazeera is based and is funded, holds out hope of release, The New York Times reported.
The possibilities talked about are retrial, deportation pardon. However, uncertainty still persists much to the anguish of families and other journalists.
According Marwa Omara, the fiancee of Mohammed Fahmy, the Canadian-Egyptian journalist who was Al-Jazeera English's acting Cairo bureau chief, it was a very tough experience not only for him but also his family.
Fahmy and Australian journalist Peter Greste received a seven-year jail term in a trial that ended in June on charges of assisting the Muslim Brotherhood in a plot to destabilise Egypt.
The team's Egyptian producer, Baher Mohammed, was sentenced to 10 years - seven on the same charges and an additional three due to a spent bullet casing found on him, which he picked up as a souvenir. The casing on his person was considered possession of ammunition.
Egypt's Court of Cassation would start hearing on their appeal on Thursday as Egypt and Qatar appear to be moving to resolve their bitter rivalry.
Meanwhile, Associated Press reported that the journalists and their families are pleading for justice and an end to their ordeal.
The unprecedented arrest and prosecution of Australian Peter Greste, Egyptian-Canadian Mohammed Fahmy and Egyptian Baher Mohammed shocked and stunned the media in Egypt.
"It's a very anxious time," Greste's mother, Lois, told The Associated Press in Cairo. "We are biting our nails. And the next three days are going to be pretty tough. We will get there. We just hope so much that everything sorts itself out on January 1."
She and Greste's father, Juris, were in the Egyptian capital to attend the appeal's opening - and maybe return home with their son.
"We have spent enough time in Egypt, in Cairo, to have learned not to react to expectations and rumors and talk," his father, Juris Greste, said. "We will only be certain of anything when we can embrace Peter and, as I have said before, when we are at 30,000 feet in a civilian aircraft in direction to home."
Greste, an award winning journalist, had immersed himself in studies in a bid to beat the nerve-wracking tension, his mother said. He started an international studies post-graduate programme in jail.