Al-Jazeera journalists face more jail time, eye deportation

Al-Jazeera journalists face more jail time, eye deportation
Australian journalist Peter Greste (L) and his colleagues, Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fadel Fahmy (C) and Egyptian Baher Mohamed listening to the verdict inside the defendants cage during their trial for allegedly supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.

CAIRO - Three Al-Jazeera journalists faced Friday the prospect of at least several more weeks in Egyptian prison, with two of them awaiting a decision on whether they can be deported, lawyers and relatives said.

Australian Peter Greste, Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian Baher Mohamed were detained in December 2013 for spreading false information and accused of aiding the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood.

Their supporters say the charges were politically motivated.

Greste's lawyer said he had submitted a request to have his client deported from Egypt under a new law signed by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

A similar demand has been made to deport Fahmy to Canada, according to his brother, while Mohamed's wife said she was looking at ways to get her husband out of Egypt.

In the first trial, Greste and Fahmy each got seven years, and Mohamed was jailed for 10.

Egypt's top court on Thursday ordered a retrial, but kept the journalists in custody pending a new hearing.

A decree signed in November by Sisi allows him to deport foreigners sentenced to prison or on trial.

"We presented this week a request to the prosecutor to expel Greste in accordance with the presidential decree," his lawyer Mostapha Nagi told AFP on Friday.

It is unclear how long the process will take, but Greste's family said they would apply for bail if it failed.

They said they had been advised that a retrial could start within 45 days, meaning the three could potentially spend at least several more weeks in custody.

Speaking to reporters in Brisbane Friday, Greste's brothers Mike and Andrew said that deportation was "the best option to get Peter home".

A senior official from the prosecutor's office said the journalists faced several possible outcomes.

"The court may order their release on bail, the president could order their deportation, or he could give them a presidential pardon, but only if there is a new verdict," the official said.

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