CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ Two opposition journalists who had been imprisoned for libel were ordered freed Thursday by Egypt's supreme court.

Magdi Hussein, editor-in-chief of Al Shaab, and reporter Mohammed Helal were convicted of libel in February and sentenced to two years hard labor in prison. The conviction was for articles they wrote accusing the sons of former Interior Minister Hassan el-Alfy of using their father's position to amass wealth.

The court also fined Hussein $2,200.

An appeals court later upheld the convictions, but reduced the sentences to one year.

The journalists appealed to the Court of Cassation, Egypt's highest court, arguing they did not violate any law and that their criticisms fell within the limits of free speech.

On Thursday, the court annulled the sentences and ordered the release of Hussein and Helal. Court officials said the judge also ordered the former interior minister to pay court costs.

However, the court also ruled that Hussein should be retried in another corruption case brought against him by el-Alfy's son Alla, officials said.

The Al Shaab articles were part of a series of reports that focused on the former interior minister, who was sacked in November following the massacre of 58 tourists in the southern city of Luxor. The stories accused him and his family of abusing his position for financial gain.