Middle East

Al Jazeera journalists Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed freed

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Media captionMohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed have been reunited with their families, as Sally Nabil reports

Al Jazeera journalists Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed have left prison in Egypt following their release on bail.

They spent more than a year behind bars. On Thursday a court ordered their release pending a retrial this month.

They are accused of spreading false information and helping the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

Their release comes almost two weeks after that of Australian Peter Greste, the third journalist in the case that has attracted international criticism.

Mr Greste was deported to Australia following his release.

Mr Fahmy, who was ordered to pay over $30,000 (£20,000) in bail, is Egyptian-born but also holds a Canadian passport.

Mr Mohamed, who is Egyptian and has no dual nationality, and Mr Fahmy now have to report to the police daily until their retrial is due to resume on 23 February.

At their original trial Mr Greste and Mr Fahmy were sentenced to seven years in prison. Mr Mohamed received an additional three-year prison sentence on a separate charge involving possession of weapons.

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Media captionBaher Mohamed: "I'm very proud of every single moment spent in prison for the sake of freedom of expression"

The defendants deny the charges, describing their trial as a sham.

Their convictions were overturned on 1 January, when the courts ordered a retrial. Exactly one month later Peter Greste was released and deported to Australia.

"It was a very difficult moment walking out of that prison, saying goodbye to those guys, not knowing how much longer they would have to put up with this," he said, vowing to fight for their release.

In a tweet from Australia he congratulated his colleagues on their release, saying they "had won a battle, but not yet the war."

Mr Fahmy also addressed his Twitter followers by posting a picture of him and his fiancée Marwa Omara.

Image copyright Twitter

Several students have also been held in the same case. The students deny working for Al Jazeera but it is thought that material filmed on their phones was used by the network.

According to campaign group Reporters Without Borders, there are currently 165 journalists imprisoned around the world, 15 of them in Egypt

Timeline: Journalists' detention:

  • 29 December 2013: Peter Greste and Mohamed Fahmy arrested in police raid on Cairo's Marriott Hotel. Baher Mohamed later arrested at home
  • 29 January 2014: 20 people including the three journalists referred to trial, charged with spreading false news, belonging to a terrorist organisation and operating without a permit
  • 22 February: First court appearance of the three journalists
  • 23 June: Defendants sentenced to seven years, with Baher Mohamed receiving an additional three years
  • 12 November: President Sisi signs decree allowing repatriation of foreign prisoners
  • 1 January 2015: Highest court orders retrial, but the three journalists not allowed bail
  • 1 February: Peter Greste freed and deported to Australia
  • 12 February: court order to release Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed
  • 13 February: both leave prison on bail pending a retrial

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