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    Monday, March 31, 2014

    Egypt trial of Al Jazeera journalists resumes

    Al-Jazeera English journalists have been back in court in Egypt after spending nearly 100 days in jail since their arrest.

    Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy, and Baher Mohamed, who have been held in a Cairo prison, appeared in court for the fourth time on Monday.

    The three men are charged with spreading false news and aiding the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood of deposed President Mohamed Morsi, who was overthrown by the army in July.

    Al Jazeera rejects the charges against its staff and continues to call for their immediate release.

    Greste and seven co-defendants appeared in a caged dock on Monday wearing white prison uniforms, AFP news agency reported.

    “After three hearings, it’s apparent that there’s no case against us. No witness has anything that incriminates us,” Fahmy told AFP, just minutes before the trial resumed.

    Before the proceedings began, Greste’s brother Mike said his brother was “strong… but 100 days in prison must have left its effect on him”.

    Monday’s hearing comes a day after Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim accused an Al Jazeera editor of helping to leak classified intelligence documents, in a separate espionage trial involving Morsi.

    Global outcry

    The high-profile case, in which 17 others are also charged, has sparked a global outcry and fuelled fears of a crackdown on the press by the military-installed authorities.

    Abdullah al-Shami, from Al Jazeera Arabic channel, has been detained for more than six months without charge and has been on hunger strike since January 23.

    Al Jazeera’s correspondents Sue Turton and Dominic Kane, who covered events in Egypt and are now abroad, are being tried in absentia.

    Institutions including the Australian government, the White House, the European Union and the United Nations have called for the release of the men, and for press freedom to be upheld in Egypt.

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