Two Al Jazeera journalists sentenced to three years’ jail after being found guilty of “aiding a terrorist organisation” have arrived back at Tora prison in southern Cairo, according to Egyptian media.
Security sources told the Egyptian MENA state news agency that Egyptian Baher Mohamed and Canadian Mohamed Fahmy had arrived at the prison, just hours after sentencing in their retrial.
Australian journalist Peter Greste was also sentenced to three years’ jail on Saturday but was deported to his home country in February under a new law allowing foreign prisoners to be deported. He was sentenced in absentia.
The journalists were accompanied by Chadi Abdel Hamid, a student, who was also sentenced to three years’ imprisonment, along with Sohaid Saad and Khaled Mohamed, MENA reported.
Mohamed was sentenced to an additional six months for possession of a spent bullet casing.
The journalists had been initially found guilty in June 2014 of aiding a “terrorist organisation”, a reference to the Muslim Brotherhood, which was outlawed in Egypt after the army overthrew President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.
Fahmy and Mohamed were on bail ahead of the verdict after they spent 410 days in detention. Greste was jailed for 400 days.
The Cairo court said on Saturday that the previous time spent in prison will be accounted for as time served.
A spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid bin Raad, said: “We are very disturbed by these three sentences and the extra pressure it creates on journalists in Egypt who are just trying to do their jobs.”
The European Union said the verdict represented “a setback for freedom of expression in Egypt”.