CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ An appeals court on Sunday revoked the fines and prison sentences against four journalists convicted of libeling an Egyptian deputy prime minister and ordered new trials, concluding they were not given a chance to defend themselves, according to court officials.

In August, three of the journalists were sentenced to two years in prison and $5,800 fines. The fourth was fined, but not jailed.

The journalists of the pro-Islamic Al-Shaab newspaper were sentenced for scores of articles that accused Deputy Prime Minister Youssef Waly of trying to ruin Egypt's agricultural sector by cooperating with Israel. Waly, also the agricultural minister, has signed several agreements with Israel for the supply of seed, fertilizers and agriculture-related technology.

The appeals court revoked the sentences Sunday because the head of the criminal court did not give the journalists enough time to defend themselves and rejected their demands to summon Waly to the courtroom, the officials said on customary condition of anonymity.

A different court will hear the retrial.

The three jailed journalists were released Sunday, Egypt's Middle East News Agency reported/