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CAIRO — An Egyptian appeals court ordered a retrial in the case of three imprisoned Al-Jazeera English journalists on Thursday. The decision by Egypt's Court of Cassation came after a hearing that lasted only a few minutes. However, Canadian-Egyptian Mohammed Fahmy, Australian journalist Peter Greste and Egyptian Baher Mohammed, who have been held since their arrest December 2013, were not granted bail.

Rights groups have dismissed the trial as a sham and foreign countries, including the U.S., expressed their concern over the journalists' detention. Authorities accused Qatar-based Al-Jazeera of acting as a mouthpiece for the Brotherhood. The station denied the accusations and said the journalists were doing their job.

The three journalists did not attend the brief hearing that began around 9 a.m. local time (2 a.m. EST) in Cairo. Reporters gathered to report on the hearing were not allowed in for those arguments, but later entered the court. Defense lawyer Negad Al-Borai told journalists after the hearing that he hoped for a "happy end" to the case. "The court has the right to release them today," he said. Defense lawyers said they believed a retrial for the three men would be held within a month.

Image: Al-Jazeera's Peter Greste (L) and his colleagues, Mohamed Fadel Fahmy (C) and Baher Mohamed
Al-Jazeera's Peter Greste (L) and his colleagues, Mohamed Fadel Fahmy (C) and Baher Mohamed, listen to the verdict inside the defendants cage during their trial for allegedly supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo on June 23.KHALED DESOUKI / AFP - Getty Images