The retrial of two Al Jazeera journalists in an Egyptian court for their alleged links to the Muslim Brotherhood has been adjourned because of a lack of eyewitnesses.
The case, which was set to resume on Monday, has been adjourned until March 8.
The Court of Cassation ordered the retrial of Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed after overturning a lower court’s verdict which found them guilty of aiding the outlawed group.
A third Al Jazeera journalist, Peter Greste, who was also to be retried, was deported on February 1 under a presidential decree after languishing in jail for 400 days. He has since returned to his home in Australia.
Fahmy and Mohamed were released on bail on February 13 after spending 411 days in prison.
Giving its reasoning for overturning the lower court’s ruling, the Court of Cassation said the “criminal court’s verdict lacked evidence to support its ruling” and “was hasty in pronouncing its verdict”.
It said the first case failed to prove how the journalists had joined the Brotherhood, and failed to prove that an act of “terrorism” actually occurred.
The lower court also “did not wait for medical and legal reports which it had requested after several defendants spoke of being under physical and moral pressure” to make confessions, the appeals court said.
The journalists have repeatedly said that they were being punished for just doing their jobs.
Separately, an Egyptian court on Monday sentenced Alaa Abdel Fattah, a leading dissident during the country’s 2011 uprising, to five years in prison over an illegal protest.
The remaining 24 defendants in the case received sentences ranging from three to 15 years. Al Jazeera