Says the Times:
Since Mr. Sisi led the military takeover of the government more than two years ago, the authorities have systematically rounded up perceived opponents, including Islamists and secularleaning activists, filling Egypt’s jails.Amnesty International called the jailing of the journalists “ludicrous." A third Al Jazeera colleague was also in December 2013 for "broadcasting false news" and for "belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist movement." Says the Times:
But prosecutors never presented any evidence that the journalists had belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood or that they had been engaged in anything other than reporting the news. Rather, their arrests were seen as part of a wider crackdown on free speech and dissent by the militarybacked government, as well as a result of Egypt’s feud with Qatar, which owns Al Jazeera and has been the main international supporter of the Brotherhood. The journalists were convicted in their first trial and drew terms of seven to 10 years in prison. In January, Egypt’s highest court ordered a retrial, in what appeared to be an acknowledgment of the many flaws of the first ... But in August, a judge sentenced Mr. Fahmy and Mr. Mohamed to three years in prison, repeating the charge that they had fabricated news reports.See full story here.