George Clooney’s wife, human rights lawyer, Amal Clooney, has claimed that the warned that she risked being arrested by Egyptian authorities over a document criticising the country’s judicial system.
Mrs Clooney identified flaws in Egypt’s judiciary which she says led to the conviction of the journalists over a year ago.
In an interview with The Guardian, Clooney, who is the lawyer of Mohamed Fahmy, one of the three jailed men, said they were victims of flaws that she highlighted in a report from February 2014.
The report, produced for the International Bar Association, said Egypt’s judiciary was not wholly independent and according to Clooney, officials found the report extremely controversial and threatened her team with arrest if they tried to present it within Egypt.
“When I went to launch the report, first of all they stopped us from doing it in Cairo,” Clooney told The Guardian. “They said: ‘Does the report criticise the army, the judiciary, or the government?’ We said: ‘Well, yes.’ They said: ‘Well then, you’re risking arrest.'”
The journalists Peter Greste, Baher Mohamed and Fahmy were initially sentenced to between seven and 10 years in jail in June 2014.
Two of three Al Jazeera journalists have applied to be deported under a new law after Egypt’s highest court ordered their retrial but did not free them as their families had hoped.
Egypt’s High Court ordered their retrial on Thursday citing procedural flaws in the original trial.