Al-Jazeera journalists Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed were released from an Egyptian jail Sept. 23 after a pardon by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, who freed a total of 100 prisoners. The journalists had spent more than a year behind bars.
Fahmy and Mohamed were sentenced to three years in prison in August 2015 after a lengthy retrial on what Al-Jazeera called “false charges” of aiding the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood movement and spreading false news.
The Muslim Brotherhood was declared a terrorist group and banned by the Egyptian government after the overthrow in 2013 of former president Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president.
“We are heartened by the news that Mohamed Fadel Fahmy and Baher Mohamed will be freed after almost 21 months of politicized trials,” said Sherif Mansour, Middle East and North African program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists. “But this is just a first step. Egypt can begin tackling its shameful record of press freedom by releasing all journalists imprisoned for their work in the country.”
CPJ called Egypt “one of the riskiest countries in the world to be a journalist.” More than 20 journalists are currently imprisoned there, many of whom are accused of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood. .
Threats facing Fahmy, Mohamed and other journalists around the world are chronicled in the Newseum’s Time Warner World News Gallery.