CAIRO: Two Al-Jazeera journalists Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed reunited with their families after over 400 days in jail, following a Thursday court decision to release them pending retrial.
“I cannot believe myself he is coming back home,” Baher’s wife Jehan Rashed told The Cairo Post an hour before her husband arrived home.
Rashed added “I want to thank all journalists who stood by our side.”
Baher was reportedly released this morning from Sheikh Zayed police station.
In the picture, Baher is seen with his three children; the youngest is Haroun who was born last August while Baher was in jail.
Rashed broke down into tears once she heard the court ordering her husband’s release.
After the court ruling, she spoke to The Cairo Post Thursday expressing her extreme happiness with the fact her husband will be back after 400 days of absence.
“I’m very happy, today I’ll return to my children and tell them Dad will come home,” Baher Mohamed’s wife Jehan Rashed told The Cairo Post. “We are waiting for the acquittal.”
Pending retrial, all the defendants were released without bail, except for Fahmy who was ordered to pay 250,000 EGP ($32,700) in order to be out.
Baher was believed to have limited chances to walk free in comparison with his two Al-Jazeera colleagues and cellmates; Canadian Fahmy who requested deportation and Australian Peter Greste who was deported Feb.1.
Greste was and Fahmy is eligible to be deported per a decree issued by Sisi in December that allows extradition of non-Egyptian prisoners to be tried or serve sentences in their home countries if it is deemed to serve Egyptian interests.
Both Australia and Canada, however, have spoken in clear support of their citizens and said they committed no crime.
Given the nationality restrictions, Fahmy renounced this month his Egyptian citizenship, reportedly against his will. During Thursday hearing, he said that ceding his nationality was “a difficult thing to him” and that a senior state official asked him to do so in order to end the case.
Yet, it is not clear whether Fahmy’s chances for deportation still exist. His brother Adel said Thursday in press statements that there is a travel ban.
— Borzou Daragahi (@borzou) February 12, 2015
Hours later, Adel tweeted that Fahmy was released from police station and that he is planning a vacation with him.
His lawyer Khaled Abou Bakr also congratulated his client on the release.
@MFFahmy11 Congratulations Mohamed! As your lawyer i have the greatest story to tell your son
— المحامي خالد ابوبكر (@ABOUBAKRLAWFIRM) February 12, 2015
Upon release, both Fahmy and Baher will have to check in daily at a local police station until the next hearing on Feb. 23, according to Twitter account of Fahmy. From his home country Australia, Peter Greste, who was deported two weeks ago, tweeted congratulating his colleagues.
— Peter Greste (@PeterGreste) February 12, 2015
In June 2014, the trio was sentenced among 20 others, some of them in absentia, to between seven-to-ten years in prison over charges of “spreading false news” and promoting the Muslim Brotherhood.
The sentences were quashed by Egypt’s highest court in Jan., ordering a retrial, which started Thursday.
The same court issued a report Monday detailing the flaws that marred June ruling, saying it “lacked evidences.” The report also said that December 2013 arrest of the trio was “void” as it was based on “unserious investigations.”