CAIRO: “I have done everything I can to prove my innocence,” Marwa Omara quoted her husband, the Canadian Journalist Mohamed Fahmy during her visit to him in prison after he was sentenced to three years over terror charges.
“[Fahmy] is in shock, disappointed and never expected this verdict,” Omara said in a Friday interview with The Cairo Post.
The moment Omara heard the verdict Aug. 29 reminded her of a similar experience she had come across in June 2014, once Fahmy; her then-fiancé was sentenced to seven years in prison over the same charges. The jail sentences were later abolished and retrial was ordered due to “lack of evidence.”
Omara continued, “The verdict was very tough; we have been in a struggle for over a year and a half.”
“The experience I went through during the last period was psychologically and physically devastating, especially that I am not a political activist and I am not expert in this. The first thing came to my mind when I heard the verdict is that I will live this experience once again,” she added.
Fahmy and Omara have recently announced their marriage outside court.
“It is very devastating that I should go to prison in order to see my husband for only 45 minutes, after we were together,” she said.
Fahmy and his colleague Baher Mohamed were released on bail in February, where they reunited with their families after 411 days in prison. Their third Australian colleague, Peter Greste, was deported earlier in the same month.
Omara said that she had spent all the time with Fahmy since he was released six months ago; “he has always appeared strong and coherent, but I knew that the long prison time has deeply affected him.”
Before the last court session, Fahmy was worried as he could not see his sick father abroad, who contracted cancer two weeks before the verdict, she said.
“Everyone who know [Fahmy] well and his love to his country, will understand that accusations that his reports disrupted national security have harmed him,” she added. “Besides, these accusations were denied in court by the technical committee,” Omara continued.
Fahmy previously announced filing a lawsuit against his former employer the Qatari Al-Jazeera network accusing it of “epic negligence” and not providing its staff with proper licenses; another charge upon which the journalists were handed down the jail sentences.
“He filed this lawsuit to protect other journalists who might face the same struggle,” Omara said, adding “he told me to continue the lawsuit.”
She further said “the situation now to all of us and to Fahmy is difficult to recount.” She expressed her concerns as her husband needs “medical attention” as a Hepatitis C patient and for his broken arm.
“But I believe in Fahmy’s innocence away from being his wife, and I will not stop fighting until he is out of prison,” Omara added.
A request was submitted to the public prosecution to deport Fahmy to Canada per the extradition decree, Mohamed Hamouda, one of Fahmy’s lawyers told The Cairo Post.
The lawyers are also planning to appeal the verdict and request a presidential pardon from President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.
The Canadian Embassy in Egypt has also applied for both deportation and presidential pardon, according to Omara.
The verdict prompted international condemnation and concerns regarding the state of press freedom in the country.