CAIRO: The “sheepish whimpers” of the Canadian government are a disservice to Al Jazeera English journalist Mohamed Fahmy, who is in Egypt awaiting deportation, said his lawyer Amal Clooney.
Clooney added in a Thursday article published in The World Post that she is planning to visit Egypt to meet with Fahmy.
Fahmy, along with his colleagues Mohamed Baher and Peter Greste , were arrested in December 2013 on charges of broadcasting false news. The trio were initially sentenced to between seven and 10 years in prison, but the sentences were dropped pending an appeal in the case. Greste, an Australian-Latvian citizen, was deported in January following a presidential pardon.
Fahmy’s family announced after Greste’s deportation that he had Fahmy, a joint Egyptian-Canadian citizen, had renounced his Egyptian citizenship in order to qualify for deportation. Although both the Canadian government and Al Jazeera said they expected his deportation “within hours,” Fahmy remained in custody until last week, when he and his co-defendants were released pending the next trial date.
“Mr. Fahmy is a Canadian national who was subjected to the same unfair trial process as Mr. Greste. Fahmy was told by high-level Egyptian officials that, as a dual Egyptian-Canadian national, he must give up his Egyptian citizenship to guarantee a transfer. He had no choice but to do so in order to secure his freedom,” Clooney wrote in her article, adding “Canada should now begin real advocacy to ensure that Egypt honors its agreement to release Mr. Fahmy from Egypt. There is no legal impediment to his immediate transfer to Canada.”
The next hearing of the case is scheduled for March 8. In the most recent hearing Feb. 23, the defense counsel requested that Fahmy be returned his Canadian passport. The judge agreed to grant a copy of the passport, but not the original, as well as to return Baher Mohamed his Egyptian National ID.
“I do not know why I am here,” Fahmy told The Cairo Post. He also referred to the cassation court’s recent reasoning for overturning the June sentences, saying that the court said the investigations were “unserious” and that there had been “no evidence” for any violence committed by the journalists.