Monday 19 February 2018

Reporter's release is 'imminent'

The release of Mohammed Fahmy is said to be imminent (AP)
The release of Mohammed Fahmy is said to be imminent (AP)

The release of Al-Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy from a prison in Egypt is "imminent", Canadian foreign minister John Baird said.

Mr Fahmy, a dual Egyptian-Canadian citizen, has relinquished his Egyptian citizenship as a prerequisite to his deportation.

Mr Baird spoke to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation a day after Al-Jazeera journalist Peter Greste of Australia was released after more than a year in prison.

Mr Baird gave no specific time frame for Mr Fahmy's release, and his spokesman declined further comment.

Mr Greste, Mr Fahmy and Egyptian Baher Mohammed were arrested in December 2013 and later convicted over their coverage of the violent crackdown on Islamist protests that year.

Mr Baird spoke to his Egyptian counterpart on Sunday and said he welcomed Mr Greste's release. He said he remained hopeful that Mr Fahmy's case will be resolved in "short order".

Mr Fahmy's brother, Adel Fahmy, said the authorities in Cairo gave him a choice: "Dropping the nationality or his freedom."

He said: "It was a very difficult decision. Mohamed is very proud and comes from a patriotic family of high ranking military and policemen that have defended this country and fought its wars."

He said many of those family members are offended and upset at Mohamed Fahmy for dropping his nationality and do not want to even say goodbye to him.

Adel Fahmy said his brother was devastated but his fiance and his mother had told him do it. He said the authorities told his brother he would be allowed to return as a tourist.

Press Association

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