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Al-Jazeera shuts down its Egypt channel

TV station, alleged to be biased toward Muslim Brotherhood, closes as Saudis try to reconcile between Doha and Cairo

Mohammed Fahmy (left), Canadian-Egyptian acting bureau chief of al-Jazeera; Australian correspondent Peter Greste (center); and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed in the defendant's cage during their trial on terror charges, Cairo, May 15, 2014. (photo credit: AP/Hamada Elrasam, File)
Mohammed Fahmy (left), Canadian-Egyptian acting bureau chief of al-Jazeera; Australian correspondent Peter Greste (center); and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed in the defendant's cage during their trial on terror charges, Cairo, May 15, 2014. (photo credit: AP/Hamada Elrasam, File)

CAIRO (AP) — The Doha-based al-Jazeera satellite station has shut down its Egypt channel, which has been at the center of tensions between Egypt and Qatar.

The closure of al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr comes amid a Saudi-led effort to reconcile between Egypt and Qatar over the latter’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Egypt accuses al-Jazeera of supporting the Brotherhood and Islamist president Mohammed Morsi, who was ousted by the military in 2013.

Three journalists from al-Jazeera’s English channel were sentenced this summer to at least seven years in prison on charges of aiding the Brotherhood, which the government declared a terrorist organization.

They were charged with providing a platform for the Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi. The three have been imprisoned since December 29. Six other al-Jazeera staffers, including two Britons, are being tried in absentia.

The case has caused an outcry among journalists and rights groups, who say their prosecution was politicized and undermines freedom of expression in Egypt.

The prosecution was a reflection of the tension between Egyptian authorities and the network. The Egyptian government accuses al-Jazeera of being biased toward Islamists. The network denies the allegations against it and its detained staffers.

The station denies any bias. The defendants in the case said they were pawns in the Egypt-Qatar fight.

Al-Jazeera said Monday it will incorporate Mubasher Misr into a new region-wide station.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

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