Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste of Australia stands in a metal cage during his trial in a court in Cairo
Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste of Australia stands in a metal cage during his trial in a court in CairoReuters

A Cairo court has sentenced three Al Jazeera journalists, detained since December in Egypt, to seven years each in a maximum security prison.

Other journalists for the Qatari-based network tried in absentia received 10-year prison sentences.

Australian journalist and former BBC correspondent Peter Greste, Canadian-Egyptian acting bureau chief Mohammed Fahmy and producer Baher Mohammed, an Egyptian, were arrested on charges of belonging to and aiding terrorist organisation -- the Muslim Brotherhood -- and spreading false news.

Mohammed was sentenced to additional three years for possession of ammunition.

The three men, who denied all the charges, were seized in a raid at a Cairo hotel on 29 December and have been held at Tora prison for 177 days.

Prosecutors had demanded sentences ranging from 15 to 25 years in prison.

Al Jazeera, which is funded by the Qatari government, is banned from operating inside Egypt after authorities accused it of airing reports sympathetic to former president Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Following the verdict, Al Jazeera English managing director Al Anstey said: "There is no justification whatsoever in the detention of our three colleagues for even one minute. To have detained them for 177 Days is an outrage. To have sentenced them defies logic, sense, and any semblance of justice."