Peter Greste and his Al Jazeera colleagues Mohammed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed have been sentenced to at least three years’ jail at a retrial in a Cairo court.

The trio were charged with supporting the banned Muslim Brotherhood and operating in Egypt without a licence.

Amal Clooney, lawyer for Fahmy said “It sends a message that journalists can be locked up for simply doing their job, for telling the truth and reporting the news,”

“And it sends a dangerous message that there are judges in Egypt who will allow their courts to become instruments of political repression and propaganda.”She said.

The sentences are “an affront to justice that sound the death knell for freedom of expression in Egypt”, Amnesty International said in a statement.

Washington and the United Nations had called for the journalists’ release, and their trial was seen as damaging to the country’s international standing.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists at least 18 journalists, many accused of being part of the Muslim Brotherhood, are behind bars in Egypt.