CAIRO: Ottawa announced Monday that it is now “able” to issue a new passport for Canadian Mohamed Fahmy, Al Jazeera Journalist, Reuters, without giving details on when it may be issued or delivered.
“After several weeks of intervention by government officials on Mr. Fahmy’s behalf, we are now in a position to issue Mr. Fahmy’s a passport despite ongoing legal issues and travel restrictions,” Kevin Menard, a spokesman for Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander, told Reuters.
Fahmy was released on bail in February after he renounced his Egyptian citizenship, after spending more than one year in prison on charges of “reporting false news.” His Australian-Latvian colleague Peter Greste was deported in January, per a presidential decree allowing for foreign nationals standing trial to be sent back to their home countries if it is deemed such an action would “serve the interests of Egypt.”
Fahmy was previously told by the Canadian passport officials that they were unable to issue him a replacement passport until his court-imposed travel ban was lifted.
“My name is on a no-fly list. If I show up at travel counter, police would grab me in a second. The passport is for marriage and identification,” Fahmy said in a tweet April 1, describing his struggles due to not possessing any official identification documents.
“There is no real rationale for this other than that a government is either ignorant of their powers or dismissive of the rights of the Canadian citizen,” Canadian Parliament Member, Paul Dewar told MSNBC April 15.
Just got off the phone with a jubilant @MFFahmy11 on news that he will be issued a Cdn passport – hope to see him home soon
— Paul Dewar (@PaulDewar) April 20, 2015
Dewar has publicly brought Fahmy’s case to Foreign Minister Robert Nicholson, saying that denying Fahmy’s basic rights as a Canadian citizen is “unacceptable” and he should be home.
Fahmy was arrested in Dec. 29, 2013 with five other journalists, including Greste and Egyptian Baher Mohamed. They were charged with fabricating videos and reports regarding demonstrations and protests in Egypt, publishing false news on Qatari-owned network Al Jazeera, and aiding the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group.
In June 2014, the three journalists were sentenced to seven to 10 years in jail.
The verdict and imprisonment of the journalists has been widely condemned by global human rights and press freedom organizations. The next court session for the case is scheduled for
Additional reporting by Nourhan Magdi