CAIRO: The family of jailed Al-Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy is seeking different legal procedures to secure his release to receive better treatment for a broken arm and hepatitis C virus, his fiancé Marwa Omara told The Cairo Post Thursday.
“We hope Fahmy will be released due to his health condition, as he needs to undergo an operation for his broken arm and receive specific hepatitis C treatment. We are seeking now to get him out through either the new deportation law or to put him on bail pending the case,” said Omran.
She said that Fahmy had previously undergone an operation under the auspices of the prison authority, but added that Fahmy still needs medical care for his arm that is not available in prison.
Egyptian-Canadian Fahmy and two of his colleagues, Australian Peter Greste and Egyptian Baher Mohamed, had their conviction on charges of broadcasting false news overturned Jan. 1 in response to an appeal filed. The case will be retried, the date of which has not yet been determined.
She said the families of the three journalists were happy when the appeal was accepted, but they were hoping for at least a release on bail, to see their relatives.
The families of both Greste and Fahmy, the two journalists with foreign nationalities, have announced that they are seeking extradition, in what appears to be taking advantage of Sisi’s recent deportation law, which allows him to send non-Egyptian defendants to their home countries to be tried or serve a sentence.
With the nationality restrictions, the Egyptian journalist Baher Mohamed has been left with limited options.
“This [deportation] law came in favor of the case. We have already applied for deporting Fahmy to Canada in a request submitted to the President and the public prosecution, and the request is being processed now before the Egyptian authorities,” said Fahmy’s fiancé Omara. Since the deportation decree is still new, with little understood about its regulation, Omara said, “we are moving step by step parallel to each development unravels in the case.”
Omara said that Fahmy’s deportation is “one of the best options” in front of his family, as the retrial might take months to begin. Another route is a release on bail, which will require the family wait until the new court session is convened to submit a request.
Some lawyers believe the case will not take long before being heard in court due to the international attention.
Lawyer Shaaban Saeed told The Cairo Post that if the judiciary released the three journos “[the judiciary] is then satisfying justice as the three journalists have been wronged; the public opinion as the three are jailed over freedom of expression –related charges and the regime, which is also seeking a way to get them out.”
The three journalists were sentenced in June 2014 to between seven to 10 years in prison over charges of spreading false news in favor of a terrorist group, in reference to the Muslim Brotherhood. They denied their charges and have denounced the trial as a “sham.”
Datelined “Torah,” a prison where the three are kept in custody, Fahmy wrote an opinion article that appeared on Jan. 6 in The New York Times, titled “Al Jazeera Journalists Are Not Egypt’s Enemies,” where he said his case was manipulated amid a “geopolitical game.”
“The government of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi chose to view us as agents of a malicious political agenda. In reality, we are closer to being hostages,” wrote Fahmy.
He also wrote, “Despite the banning of Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr, I accepted the challenge to run the Al Jazeera English bureau because I trusted the professionalism of its journalists and because I believed the Egyptian government would respect the difference between the two channels.”
Knowing the distinction between both Arabic and English versions of Al-Jazeera broadcast, Fahmy said in his article that he “emphasized to the management in Qatar that none of our reports should be dubbed in Arabic.”
It was not possible to reach Lawyer Amal Clooney, who represents Fahmy, as she refrains from giving press statements at the meantime, said Fahmy’s fiancé Omara.
“[Clooney] is a kind friend of Fahmy and her recent [press statements] were only to deny wrong reports taken on her behalf as she cares for the interest of Fahmy’s case,” added Omara.
Omara said that, in Fahmy’s case, “The lawyers believe in Fahmy’s acquittal and innocence that most of them have reduced their fees,” adding that Clooney has cut her fees by about 90 percent and that she is only getting “symbolic” payment