CAIRO: A Cairo Court set July 30 to issue the final verdict in the retrial of two Al-Jazeera journalists, in the case known in the media as the “Mariott Cell.”
Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy, Egyptian Baher Mohamed, along with a number of Egyptian students are facing charges of aiding a banned group, broadcasting false news to disrupt national security and operating without proper licenses.
On Monday, the court heard student Sohaib Saad, one of the defendants, whom the judge ordered his arrest in the last hearing for not attending the session.
Saad, who was reported by his family as missing a few weeks ago, told the judge he was arrested “blindfolded” at Cairo’s district of Zamalek along with two others, and was held for 12 days without knowing the reason, Journalist Kristen Mc Tighe tweeted from court.
During the previous few hearings, the court heard the closing arguments by lawyers who denied charges drawn against their clients by the prosecution due to “lack of evidence.”
A third Al-Jazeera journalist, Australian Peter Greste, was deported in February per a 2014 decree that allows non-Egyptians’ extradition to be tried or serve a sentence in their home country.
The three journalists were sentenced in June 2014 to seven-ten years in prison; an appeal court abolished the sentence in January “due to lack of evidence” and ordered a retrial.