Wednesday, September 23, 2015 4:09 pm
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi on Wednesday pardoned two Al Jazeera journalists jailed for three years in a case that drew worldwide attention to his government’s crackdown on dissent.
Canadian-Egyptian journalist Mohammed Fahmy and the network’s Egyptian producer Baher Mohammed were among about 100 prisoners included in a presidential pardon marking the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha.
Al-Sissi also pardoned two prominent young female activists, Sana Seif and Yara Salam, who were jailed last year under a law that effectively banned protests without prior police approval.
Fahmy and Mohammed were arrested in late 2013 and charged with publishing false news and collaborating with the banned Muslim Brotherhood.
They were sentenced to seven and 10 years imprisonment respectively, in an initial trial in 2014.
The sentences were reduced to three years in a retrial that concluded in August.
A third journalist, Australian citizen Peter Greste, was released and deported on al-Sissi’s orders in February before the retrial started.
Human rights organisations and press freedom groups had called for their release.