CAIRO: Mohamed Fahmy has ceded his Egyptian citizenship in order to be deported to Canada, where he is a citizen, members of his family told AFP Tuesday.
The network tweeted Tuesday morning they expected him to be released “within hours.”
Fahmy is one of three Al Jazeera English journalists who were arrested on Dec. 29. 2013, accused of broadcasting “false news.” His colleague Peter Greste, a dual Australian/Latvian citizen, was deported Sunday, and reunited with his family in Cyprus. The third journalist, Baher Mohamed, has only Egyptian citizenship, and was accused of weapons possession when he was arrested. No announcements have been made from the state in reference to his case.
“Mohamed Fahmy is an extraordinary professional, a dedicated journalist, very passionate and a strong-willed character,” said Peter Greste to Al Jazeera Monday in his first interview since his release.
On Nov. 12, 2014, President Sisi issued a decree that gave him the right to deport any foreign citizen to his country of origin to face trial in courts there if it “served Egyptian national interests.”
The three journalists were convicted in a trial last year for broadcasting “false news;” the only video evidence provided by the prosecution at trial was footage seized in their hotel room, including a documentary by Sky News Arabia about horses, as well as videos of Kenyan politicians, however none of it had been shot by Al Jazeera.
The case of the journalists has attracted worldwide condemnation from press freedom groups, and in a January visit to Nairobi, Foreign Minister Sameh Shokry was greeted by local journalists who protested outside his meetings with Kenyan officials.