Canadian-Egyptian journalist Mohammed Fahmy, centre, is flanked by Baher Mohamed, left, and Peter Greste, in a Cairo court in March. Mr. Fahmy has short-cropped salt-and-pepper hair and looks a bit like George Clooney. Mr. Mohamed might pass for a professional tennis player and appears athletic. He has short dark hair. Mr. Greste is shorter than the other two and is balding. All are wearing white shirts and looking back toward something that must be happening the court room.

Canadian-Egyptian journalist Mohammed Fahmy, centre, is flanked by Baher Mohamed, left, and Peter Greste, in a Cairo court in March.
Photo Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP / Heba Elkholy, El Shorouk

Lawyers launch new appeal for Canadian in Cairo prison


Lawyers for Mohamed Fahmy, an Egyptian-Canadian journalist imprisoned in Cairo, have begun a new effort to win his freedom, filing an appeal for a hearing.

Earlier this year, Mr. Fahmy, 40, was found guilty of terrorism-related charges in a trial branded a sham by most international observers.

Mr. Fahmy was the Cairo bureau chief for Qatar-based satellite news broadcaster Al-Jazeera English when he and two Al-Jazeera colleagues were arrested on Dec. 29, 2013, at the Cairo Marriott hotel.

They had set up a temporary news bureau at the hotel to cover protests against the ouster of then-president Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate who had won a general election then been removed by the army after a year in power.

The journalists were accused of broadcasting “false news” and supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, which had been declared a terrorist group. It was alleged they had fabricated footage to undermine Egypt’s national security and to make it appear the country was facing civil war.

Mr. Fahmy was sentenced to seven years in prison. An Australian colleague, Peter Greste, received a similar sentence.

Another Al-Jazeera employee, Egyptian Baher Mohamed, was sentenced to 10 years.

The sentencing judge said the three journalists were brought together “by the devil” to destabilize the country.

Observers said the verdict was an attempt by the incoming Egyptian government to send a message to Qatar, which supports the Muslim Brotherhood.

Mr. Fahmy’s brother, Adel, said Mr. Fahmy had to be convinced to file the new appeal because he is still infuriated and frustrated by the verdict and did not want to go through the “circus” of another trial.

Mr. Fahmy’s family moved to Canada from Egypt in 1991 when he was a child. He became a Canadian citizen with them.

The Canadian government has been criticized for not doing more to secure Mr. Fahmy’s release from prison, but Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has said the government is simply working quietly liberate Mr. Fahmy.

Posted in International, Politics

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