Mohamed Fahmy’s family asks why Canada has yet to take on Egypt

‘We’re not asking for anything extra. We just want them to do what the other governments are doing.’

Adel Fahmy, brother of Mohamed Fahmy, left, Wafa Bassiouni, mother of Mohamed Fahmy, second left, and his fiance, third left, watch proceedings in a courtroom in Cairo, on Monday. (AP Photo)

Adel Fahmy, brother of Mohamed Fahmy, left, Wafa Bassiouni, mother of Mohamed Fahmy, second left, and his fiance, third left, watch proceedings in a courtroom in Cairo, on Monday. (AP Photo)

Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fahmy is one of three Al Jazeera journalists convicted on Monday by an Egyptian court on terrorism-related charges and sentenced to seven years in jail.

The case has generated international outrage from governments, human rights groups and other journalists who believe the charges against them are politically motivated and without merit.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague summoned Egypt’s ambassador to a meeting after the verdict was announced. American Secretary of State John Kerry said the sentence is “chilling and draconian.” Amnesty International called the journalists’ prosecution a “vindictive farce” and said the trio, who include Egyptian Baher Mohamed and Australian Peter Greste, are pawns in Egypt’s dispute with Qatar, which owns Al Jazeera.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said his government is “shocked” and “dismayed” by the verdict, and said Australia will work to get Greste returned home “as quickly as possible.” He said he spoke with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi about the case over the weekend. In Canada, Lynne Yelich, minister of state for foreign affairs and consular services, called the judicial process “inconsistent with Egypt’s democratic aspirations.”

Maclean’s spoke to Fahmy’s brother, Sherif, in Kuwait. The interview has been edited.

How is your family doing?

Today was a heartbreaking scene. We were not able to calm down our mother at all. At the age of 65, it’s very hard for her to know that her son will be locked up for seven years. The chances of him being acquitted while she is still alive are not that great. That’s why she broke down in tears, stomping her foot on the floor.

I’m trying to hold up. My other brother is trying to hold up, so we can give her some strength.  

You were expecting a different result?

We got this feeling from our lawyer during the last hearing before the verdict. We passed that along to Mohamed, so that’s why he was feeling optimistic. Because of that, during my last prison visit, he passed on 25 tweets for me to release from his account once he is released.

I’ll tell you the most important one. Mohamed had the feeling that Canada did its job, actually fought for him, and that’s why he’s going to get released. He doesn’t know that Canada actually did not do too much. So the first tweet is: “Thank you, Canada. I will be arriving soon for some love. No terrorism plans, I promise.

What were you hoping the Canadian government would do?

When you called me right now, I was watching one of the most popular Egyptian shows, and the host showed how worried Egypt is because of the reaction of foreign governments because of the verdict today. He referred to Australia, and he referred to England. He even hosted the Egyptian ambassador in London, telling him what happened today in his meeting with the British representative.

What other governments are doing is making Egypt really worried today. On the other hand, nothing at all from Canada. We’re not asking for anything extra. We just want them to do what the other governments are doing. At least, call the Egyptian ambassador in Ottawa and show him how devastated you are—if you actually are devastated.

When will you see Mohamed again?

I will be coming back to Cairo next week. I will tell him to stay strong. I will remind him that he has been in more difficult situations. I will remind him when he was in the war in Iraq, being shot at. And I will just tell him to stay optimistic and that the whole world is fighting for him and for his colleagues, and it that it will end soon—much, much sooner than he thinks.

Do you think that’s true?

I hope. Canada cannot leave Mohamed to rot for seven years in maximum security. We hope that they do fight for Mohamed and ignore the fact that he is a dual national and remember that he is a Canadian citizen. He is paying taxes, and we’ve lived in Canada more than we’ve lived in Egypt. I hope they remember this. 

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Mohamed Fahmy’s family asks why Canada has yet to take on Egypt

  1. Given the Harperites attitude towards the press, it’s no surprise that the case of a jailed Canadian journalist, convicted in a kangaroo court has been left to a junior minister’s meaningless press release. Harper and Baird of course have the added incentive of protecting the growing number of weapons exports to Egypt to send them scurrying under their desks.

    • budster,

      Harper’s disdain for the media is well founded. It was not Harper who wrote and published false stories about the media. It was not Harper who selectively edited what journalists were writing to make the writer look bad. It was not Harper who accuses journalists of being fascists or dictators……

      But, many journalists have used such tactics against Harper. I don’t blame him for his disdain for most journalists in Canada….I agree with him as I share this disdain.

      You want a Government (any government) that pays more mind to journalists….then perhaps journalists should focus on journalism, and leave their personal politics our of their stories.

      • Keep sending the CPC your cash every time it attacks the press, Ricky. You’ve swallowed the bait, hook, line and sinker.

        • Budster,

          Do you deny that the Canadian media is biased against Harper? Do you deny that they have manufactured scandals that didn’t really exist?

          What I wrote is not only factually correct, it is also known by most of the culprits who do it.

          • Hook, line and sinker Richard

          • Keep sending the CPOC your cash, Jimmy.

          • CBC routinely censors facts, yet posts Harper hate and slander is untouched.

            I don’t even vote Harper and I live in his riding, but Canadian media is ethically, morally corrupt as are our governments.

            No reason to support this Egyption born Candian of convenience doing violence. He needs to be jailed.

            If this country was ethical, we would arrest those that do and support terrorism abroad on their return to Canada. And give them a option, to disavow being Canadian and leave, or face trial and jail here. But our dysfunctional governments and judicial are not moral people.

    • He doesn’t live in Canada, he doesn’t pay taxes to Canada, he was nto born here, he doesn’t respect Canadian anti-terrosim laws and wishs of rational people….

      His only claim to citizenship is a piece of paper, handed down from his parents immigration. Not my fault as a taxpayer he is a radical terrorist supporting journalist working for a foreign company.

      Get a grip people, we owe this idiot and his family nothing. They are free to move back and aid in his appeals at their own cost.

      Fact is, do the crime, do the time.

  2. Canada is very good at issuing fake passports. Also, a source of cheap mercenaries.

    • Speaking from personal experience, are you?

    • K-Nadian,

      the problem isn’t FAKE passports…..the problem is Islamic extremists who hold Canadian citizenship, and REAL passports. We have dozens, perhaps hundreds of young Muslim Canadians currently engaged in Jihad around the globe.

      the bigger problem of course, is those who survive the battles and come back to Canada.

      • Canadians have a long tradition of going overseas to fight for other countries when we are not officially involved…..the Boer War, Spain, Ireland, VietNam, Serbia, Iraq….

        Why should this be any different?

        • Emily,

          You cannot possibly be that stupid.

          • No answer eh?

          • Emily,

            Apparently you are.

          • Again, you have no answer.

          • That was my answer.

            Not surprised the meaning still escapes you.

    • Yep, we are a terrorist breeding ground. And if they get disabled like Omar, we will club fed him, then give him life off social assistances for injures he obtained abroad in killing people.

      Canada has far too much tolerance for idiocracy and irrational people.

      • Ahh the total lack of self-awareness….

  3. The assumption is always that the government is doing nothing in these matters. The fact is, anything they did to would be carried out in the utmost of secrecy. Delicate negotiations to release someone from a foreign prison (or from a hostage situation or what have you) are not shared with the media, or even with the victim’s family. Just the way it is. Does that mean I know for a fact something is being done about this? Nope. But I do know that Canadians – including his family – have absolutely no clue if something is being done or not, and no way of finding out, and that it will remain that way until some major development either proves or disproves whatever our suspicions might be.

    • Yep, pretty obvious the family is just as irrational as their son.

      Do the crime, do the time. Amazing how many think being a Canadian of convenience on paper or as a biased religious journalist they somehow think it the right to break local laws.

      He isn’t a Canadian resident or taxpayer either….

  4. Mohamed Fahmy’s family should have raised him better.

    Doing terrorism in another country is not a Canadian taxpayers problem, nor should it be. Does he live in Canada, no. Does he pay Canadian taxes, no. Was he born here, no and in fact is a 100% citizen of Egypt.

    Canada really should arrest people like this when they return to Canada, USA does. You go off to foreign lands to cause trouble, do pedophile sex, organ trade, terrorism, kill, USA will try you on your return if you didn’t go to jail over there.

    Amazing how many idiots in Canada and media think Canada weak laws are world wide. I have traveled to 30+ countries and lived in 4 of them, never any trouble…but I do not participate in proactive ignorance of law, crime, belligerence, threats, deception, lies…..

    Youa re government by the land you walk on. Do the crime, do the time.

    If Mohamed Fahmy humbles up, doesn’t threaten with “they will pay”, gets some rational sense, owns up like a man….he might get out early.

    • What are you smoking today, Dave?

      • Maybe he found your secret stash of anti-depressants and other assorted meds, and made himself a cocktail.

    • Yeah if you’re gonna be a jihadi supporter – why try hiding behind the Canadian government? Th egovernment should make a strong statement that it is not going to help anyone (now or in future) who go to other countries to create trouble

  5. You chose to support jihadists/extremists and the government should help you because that is a Canadian cause how…???

    Fight your own battles…why hide behind the Canadian government now? Be a real rebel and take it like a rebel….

  6. If we had moral and ethical government, we would disavow his citizenship for participating in terrorism and violence abroad.

    As for the others, 500+ abroad, should do like USA and others do, arrest them for terrorism on their return. It is a form of treason and certainly is terrorism to kill abroad and when things go bad, use Canada like a taxpayer funded dish rag.

    But then we are not ethical, rational or logical, we have a pandering unethical government that isn’t really standing up against radical Islam. Talk is good, but the walk tells a different story.

    If his family is offended with reality, then move back to Egypt, your problem child should not be my tax problem.

    • Dave,

      The Conservatives have tried to make it easier to revoke citizenship from terrorists…..but the opposition parties and the courts are throwing up roadblocks every step of the way.

  7. Family shoudl go over there and take on Egypt. I would be dead against bombing Egypt with my money because they jail up terrorism and their supporters.

    Get a grip, spend your own money and not ours. He doesn’t live here, he doesn’t contribute and pay taxes here, he is Egyptian born, not my moral problem so you irrational idiots, get a grip.

    Spend your own money, teach the idiot managers as “they will pay” comments are threats. I can see why they lock him up. Egypt isn’t weak on terrorism like Canada is. Raise your kids better.

    • We always get our own out Dave…..and he is Canadian, and a journalist. Get a grip.

  8. So now brave journalists who risk their lives reporting from the most troubled spots in the world are terrorists according to the kafkaesque Egyptian judiciary and the anonymous cowards who sit at their computers in Canada with their right to free speech fully protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which they hate. Take a good look at yourselves and you’ll see the yellow streak running down you backs and when you’re done read this.


    • Budster,

      The allegations are that he, along with his co-horts were manufacturing news to make the Government look bad. (sort of like most of Canada’s media).
      Further, it would appear this fellow was a strong supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood…and that fact he hasn’t lived in Canada for over a decade is a pretty good indication that he was more concerned about furthering the cause of Islamic extremism, than in paying Canadian taxes. though…I’m sure if he needed medical help he would have found his way back rather quickly.

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