President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said he will use his power to pardon the detained Al Jazeera journalists after the trial has finished.
In an interview with London-based newspaper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat published on Saturday, Al-Sisi commented on the detained Al Jazeera journalists’s case.
“We are in a country respecting the judiciary and I can’t interfere to release them until the final verdict has released,” Al-Sisi said. “I’ll use the presidential pardon after the trail’s sessions have finished.”
The tension in Egypt’s relations with Qatar and Turkey reached a peak after the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi in August 2013, with both Qatar and Turkey backing the Islamists. Al-Sisi said that Egypt cannot insult countries even if tensions are temporarily found.
Last November, Al-Sisi approved a law allowing foreign journalists to be deported to their home countries before an Egyptian court issues final verdicts in their cases.
The three Al Jazeera journalists, Australian Peter Greste, Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy, and Egyptian Baher Mohamed, were initially sentenced to between seven and ten years imprisonment.
Fahmy, who gave up his Egyptian citizenship, was released on a EGP 250,000 bail. Mohamed, who has only Egyptian citizenship, was released without bail. Greste was freed and deported on 1 February, after spending 400 days in prison.
The detained journalists ignored all the accusations they were charged with, expressing that they were doing their work.
They had been charged with aiding a “terrorist group”, referring to the now banned Muslim Brotherhood, tarnishing Egypt’s image abroad and threatening Egypt’s national security. The journalists were arrested on 26 of December 2013, spending over a year in prison.