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Egypt court adjourns retrial of Al Jazeera journalists

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AN Egyptian court has adjourned the trial of Al Jazeera journalists, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, after witnesses of the prosecution failed to appear in court. 

  The court decision came after a brief hearing Sunday. It set the date for the next trial on March 19.

Fahmy and Mohamed were charged with aiding the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood, which Egypt deems a terrorist organisation.

  Emerging from the court, the two journalists expressed frustration at the delay of their trial.

  “We come here and we respect the court,” Fahmy said. “But it’s very unusual that witnesses don’t come twice in a row, and I see it as an insult to the judiciary here. It’s really a legal limbo and we’re caught in it.”

  A court last month released Fahmy, a naturalised Canadian who gave up his Egyptian citizenship, and Egyptian Mohamed, on bail after over 400 days in detention.

  They were also ordered to check with the police daily. Their first hearing on 23 February also was postponed.

  A third Al Jazeera journalist, Australian Peter Greste, was deported earlier in February.

  Meanwhile, two bombs exploded yesterday in Egypt’s Mediterranean city of Alexandria, one outside a popular supermarket chain and another near a police station, killing one person and wounding at least 9, security officials said.

  The blasts are the latest in a bombing campaign blamed on Islamic militants who are targeting foreign and local economic and financial establishments.   The campaign seems designed to undermine confidence in Egypt ahead of a major, three-day economic conference scheduled to open Friday in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Egypt plans to announce projects worth up to $35 billion during the conference.

  The officials said the first blast took place outside a branch of Carrefour in Alexandria’s eastern district of Seyouf, killing one person and injuring 6. The second bomb exploded outside the city’s Muharram Bek police station, injuring three people. A flash bang near another police station, in Bab Sharq, caused no injuries.

    The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to journalists.

On Saturday, a bomb exploded in front of the branch of a major Emirati bank in a Nile Delta town north of the capital, Cairo. The blast killed a policeman and a civilian and wounded 16 others.

  The United Arab Emirates is one of several Gulf Arab countries that have sent billions of dollars in aid to Egypt since the ouster in July 2013 of Islamist President, Mohammed Morsi. The funds kept the ailing Egyptian economy afloat and bolstered the rule of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi – a former military chief who took office nearly a year after leading the ouster of Morsi.

  The attacks, mostly centered in Cairo, have targeted offices of foreign mobile phone companies as well as branches of an American fast food chain. They have also targeted shopping malls, busy streets and courthouses, disrupting life and creating the image of a country mired in unrest.

 



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