CPJ joins call for Canada to help free Al-Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy

The Committee to Protect Journalists has signed a joint letter calling on Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to take immediate action to have jailed Al-Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy deported from Egypt to Canada. CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon and Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour signed the letter to Harper along with more than 300 other prominent public figures and human rights groups.

Fahmy, a Canadian journalist, is serving a three-year prison sentence at Cairo’s Tora prison, along with his Egyptian colleague Baher Mohamed. At a retrial last month the journalists were convicted of “aiding a terrorist organization,” spreading false news, working without a license, and belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood group, according to reports. The politically motivated convictions spurred international condemnation.

“Direct and persistent requests from you personally to President el-Sisi are Mr. Fahmy’s only hope for release,” the letter said. It mentioned how Peter Greste, an Australian journalist convicted in the same case in 2014 and retried in absentia with Fahmy and Mohamed, was able to secure deportation in February after Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott intervened in his case.

President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi said last month that he would try to deal with Al-Jazeera convictions positively, reviving hopes that he would deliver on his promise in late 2014 to consider pardoning the three Al-Jazeera journalists. El-Sisi also issued a decree allowing the deportation of foreign detainees. Fahmy relinquished his Egyptian citizenship in February in the hope of being deported to Canada.

CPJ research shows 22 journalists were behind bars for their work in Egypt as of August 12. This number does not include Mohamed and Fahmy.

A copy of the joint letter can be viewed here.