President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi issued a decree on Wednesday pardoning two imprisoned journalists from the Al Jazeera English news network as well as youth activists convicted of protesting, according to a presidential spokesman. The detainees are among thousands of people arrested by the authorities over the last two years as part of a crackdown on free speech and dissent. Mr. Sisi s government had faced scrutiny in particular over the cases of the Al Jazeera journalists, members of Egypt s international press corps who were arrested on charges that human rights advocates called ludicrous and who were convicted after trials that appeared free of any incriminating evidence.
An Egyptian court has sentenced three Al-Jazeera English journalists to three years in prison, the last twist in a long-running trial criticised worldwide by press freedom advocates and human rights activists. It wasn't immediately clear how the sentence would affect the three men. Greste, who was deported in February, spoke to Al-Jazeera from Sydney and criticised the verdict. Mostefa Souag, Al-Jazeera English acting director-general, said the decision "defies logic and common sense". "The whole case has been heavily politicised and has not been conducted in a free and fair manner," Souag said in a statement.
Egypt was accused of making a savage assault on free speech on Sunday, after its cabinet drafted a law that criminalises the reporting of terrorism statistics that differ from those the government provides. Under an article in the new terrorism law presented to the president for his final approval, journalists face at least two years in jail if they publish figures that contradict those that state institutions such as the army release.
An Egyptian court has granted bail to the detained Al Jazeera journalists Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy. A retrial was ordered by the country's Court of Cassation last month, overturning a lower court's verdict that had falsely found them guilty of helping the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group. The three journalists, along with seven colleagues outside the country, were accused of spreading "false news" during their coverage of demonstrations protesting a military toppling of former president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.
Egypt's president has acknowledged for the first time that the heavy sentences handed down to three al-Jazeera journalists had a "very negative" impact on his country's reputation, saying he wished they had never been put on trial. The comments by Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to Egyptian media editors, published late on Sunday, are the first public recognition by Egyptian officials that the case has damaged the country's international relations
International outrage at Egypt's brutal crackdown on dissent intensified on Monday after three journalists for Al-Jazeera English were sentenced to up to a decade in jail for endangering Egypt's national security in a verdict that dealt both a shocking blow to Egyptian free speech and a humiliating rebuke to American attempts to moderate the worst excesses of Egypt's security state
Prosecutors sought the highest possible jail terms for three al-Jazeera English journalists on trial in Egypt, after accusing them, in their closing statements on Thursday, of making "a devilish pact" with the ousted Muslim Brotherhood.
An Egyptian court has denied bail to three Al Jazeera journalists, and extended the imprisonment of a fourth for 45 days in hearings that coincided with World Press Freedom Day. The judge on Saturday adjourned the case of Mohamed Fahmy, Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed until May 15, after hearing Fahmy repeat his request for bail. The first bail request was rejected on March 31.
The Al Jazeera Media Network has condemned the arrest of four of its journalists held by Egyptian authorities since Sunday night, and has demanded their immediate release. Award-winning Nairobi-based correspondent Peter Greste, Al Jazeera English bureau chief Mohamed Fahmy, Cairo-based producer Baher Mohamed and a fourth staff journalist have been held in custody since their arrest by security forces on Sunday evening. Greste is a veteran journalist who over the past two decades has worked for Reuters, CNN and the BBC.
Egyptian authorities have detained four people, including an Australian journalist and an Egyptian labour activist, on suspicion that they had distributed cash to workers and incited them to take part in a strike demanding an end to army rule, the government-run Al-Ahram has said.
An Egyptian military court has sentenced a blogger who criticised the army to two years in prison, after he went on a hunger strike to protest an initial three-year sentence. "In the name of the people, Maikel Nabil has been sentenced and punished with two years in prison and fined 200 pounds ($33)," the court said after a retrial on Wednesday.
Some opposition newspapers appeared partially blank in October, in protest at alleged restrictions imposed by the military rulers who have been in control of the country since former president Hosni Mubarak's overthrow earlier this year.
A prominent Egyptian-born U.S. columnist said uniformed police sexually assaulted, beat and blindfolded her after she was detained Thursday near Tahrir Square during clashes, leaving her left arm and right hand broken and in casts.
Ayman Mohyeldin, an Al Jazeera correspondent who was detained while covering the unrest in Egypt, has been released. He was seized by the Egyptian military near Tahrir Square in Cairo on Sunday, but was freed nine hours later following a concerted appeal by the network and supporters of Mohyeldin.
Journalists covering protests in Cairo, including CNN's Anderson Cooper and two Associated Press correspondents, have been roughed up in the crowd. Cooper says he and his crew were attacked by supporters of President Hosni Mubarak on Wednesday. CNN later said no one was seriously hurt.