Egyptian appeals court drops prison sentence for Al-Jazeera journalist

An Egyptian appeals court on Monday spared an Al-Jazeera journalist a six-month prison sentence by overturning a ruling that she tarnished the country's reputation after running a report on police torture, a judicial official and her lawyer said. But the court upheld Howaida Taha's conviction on a separate charge that she fabricated videotapes used in the documentary and maintained a 20,000 Egyptian pound (about US$3,600) fine imposed on her, said a judicial official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. Taha, a documentary producer for the pan-Arab satellite station who is known for her criticism of the Egyptian regime, was first detained in January 2007 for two days for possessing 50 video tapes that police allege contained fabricated scenes of torture by Egyptian police. At the time, she said the footage was a "reconstruction" for a documentary.