CAIRO, Egypt – Three Al Jazeera journalists were sentenced to three years in jail Saturday for broadcasting material harmful to Egypt, triggering an international outcry.
The verdict in a retrial was issued against Mohamed Fahmy, a naturalized Canadian who has given up his Egyptian citizenship, Baher Mohamed, an Egyptian, and Australian Peter Greste, who was deported in February.
Egyptian judge Hassan Farid said he issued his ruling because the three weren’t registered with the country’s journalist syndicate, Reuters reported.
Farid also said the journalists brought equipment without the approval of security officials into Egypt, as well as spread “false news” and used a hotel as a broadcasting point without permission.
Greste, who had been tried in absentia, described the verdict as “so wrong.”
Mostefa Souag, acting director general of Qatar-based Al Jazeera, said in a statement: “Today’s verdict defies logic and common sense. Our colleagues Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy will now have to return to prison, and Peter Greste is sentenced in absentia.”
“Today’s verdict is yet another deliberate attack on press freedom. It is a dark day for the Egyptian judiciary; rather than defend liberties and a free and fair media they have compromised their independence for political reasons.”