Mohamed Fahmy retrial delayed until March 19 after witnesses fail to show
First hearing on Feb. 23 was also postponed
The retrial of two Al-Jazeera English journalists who face terror-related charges in Egypt has been postponed yet again to March 19.
The decision Sunday comes after witnesses fail to show for a hearing for acting bureau chief Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian producer Baher Mohammed. The two were freed last month awaiting trial, though they've had to check in with police daily. Their first hearing on Feb. 23 also was postponed.
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Two key police witnesses that the judge had asked to be brought forward did not show up, according to the CBC's Sasa Petricic. The judge fined the two $60 each for not being there.
Fahmy said he is "pretty frustrated."
"You know, you go to the court expecting that the trial moves forward and that we can get closer to the conclusion of this horrific experience and then it doesn't seem like anything is going my way," he said in an interview on CBC News Network.
"I'm pretty upset about it. It's a serious legal limbo where I'm caught at right now."
In the meantime, Fahmy said he is working on the deportation option, which he said could "happen any time" in the judicial process.
Fahmy without Canadian passport
Fahmy said the authorities are holding his Canadian passport, which he said he needs to conduct official transactions, including getting married and renting hotel rooms or a car. Fahmy, formerly a dual Canadian-Egyptian citizen, gave up his Egyptian citizenship earlier this year as a condition for getting released from prison.
"It is not unusual in Egypt for strange things to happen during court cases — for things to be delayed, bureaucratic issues to come up and things to drag on for weeks, months, maybe even years," said Petricic in Cairo.
"But on the other hand, there were signals that the government, prosecution and the judge wanted to speed things along, to get this done, out of the way."
The two, arrested in December 2013, face charges accusing them of being part of a terrorist group and airing falsified footage intended to damage national security. Al-Jazeera is based in Qatar, a main backer of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi's outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group.
Human rights organizations and media groups have criticized the trial. Australian journalist Peter Greste, also charged in the case, was deported in February.
With files from the Associated Press