They were arrested in December 2013, months after the military overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Mursi.
In his ruling, Judge Hassan Farid claimed that neither Fahmy nor Mohamed merited the legal protections extended to journalists since neither had been formally authorized by the Egyptian government to practice journalism. The state news agency MENA said that extra time was handed down because he was in possession of a bullet at the time of his arrest.
Baher Mohamed, Mohamed Fahmy and Peter Greste were all given three-year sentences.
At least three other co-defendants, accused of working with Al-Jazeera, received similar sentences.
“We firmly condemn the disgraceful “political” verdict issued at the end of the retrial of these Al-Jazeera journalists”, the group’s secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “To be given three-year sentences is outrageous”.
Fahmy’s wife, Marwa, broke down in tears as the verdict was read out, with others sobbing in the courtroom.
“The sentence is clearly outrageous and it’s nearly impossible to describe how absurd the verdict is”.
Anadolu Agency/Getty Images Lawyer representing Armenia, Amal Clooney, is seen on January 28, 2015 before the start of the appeal hearing in Perincek case at the European Court of Human Rights in the eastern French city of the Strasbourg. Australian Peter Greste, who was deported to Australia earlier this year, was on trial in absentia.
“Regarding Fahmy, his brother, Adel Fahmy, explained to the Christian Science Monitor that although his brother had given up Egyptian citizenship, he “… always had his foot grounded in both cultures and he had a lot of support during his detention from Canadians”.
“I understand that the Canadian government is doing everything it can, but still, we need more for them”, she said from Cairo.
Mohamed Fahmy is not the only journalist in the world imprisoned on fake charges – far from it.
“These sentences will undermine confidence in Egypt’s progress towards strong, long-term stability based on implementing the rights granted by the Egyptian constitution”, North Africa Minister Tobias Ellwood said in a statement. “There is no evidence proving that our colleagues in any way fabricated news or aided and abetted terrorist organizations and at no point during the long drawn out retrial did any of the unfounded allegations stand up to scrutiny”. “This was comprehensively debunked by the court’s own technical committee”, Al Jazeera English Acting Managing Director Giles Trendle told a news conference in Doha.
The case has stoked an global outcry and raised questions over Egypt’s stated commitment to democracy almost five years after an uprising toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
Defence Minister Jason Kenney told reporters Sunday, that the Canadian government would continue to raise its concerns about the case “at the highest levels”, but did not specify if Harper would personally become involved.