A Canadian is languishing in an Egyptian prison

Why doesn’t his country seem to care?

by Nick Taylor-Vaisey

via Twitter

“We are deeply concerned to learn that our colleagues, all three of whom are well respected journalists, may face charges that include belonging to a terrorist organization and spreading false news that could endanger national security.” —statement signed by foreign correspondents in Egypt

Mohamed Fahmy, who was born in Egypt, came to Canada in 1991. Later, Fahmy obtained Canadian citizenship. His parents still live in Montreal. He decided to become a journalist. He worked for CNN and the New York Times. Eventually, Fahmy’s career took him to Egypt, where he served as a producer for Al Jazeera English. Then, on Dec. 29, he and two colleagues were detained by Egyptian authorities. They remain detained.

Baher Mohamed is also a producer. Peter Greste is a correspondent. These men are journalists, nothing else. They’re accused of spreading false news and maintaining cozy friendships with the Muslim Brotherhood. Fahmy has been interrogated, repeatedly. Still, none of the men has been charged. Three weeks ago, the Toronto Star demanded the authorities release Fahmy, Mohamed and Greste. Al Jazeera makes continued appeals for unconditional release. A group of foreign correspondents, including Lise Doucet, a Canadian who works for the BBC, signed a letter that forcefully defends the journalists’ credentials. But the men remain behind bars.

On Jan. 15, The Globe and Mail applauded the feds for rebuking the apparent suggestion, made by some bureaucrats, that Canadian dual citizens who live abroad should be entitled to less consular assistance from Canadian officials. “Canadians like Mr. Fahmy should get the consular assistance they need. There’s no such thing as a second-class Canadian citizen,” wrote the Globe.

The Star’s editorial likened Fahmy’s detainment to that of John Greyson and Tarek Loubani, the Canadians who were imprisoned for months last year before their release—thanks, in part, to the intervention of Canadian officials. Canadians are once again on the scene, but there’s no sign yet that Fahmy will see the light of day. Greyson and Loubani benefited from an uproar among a loud Canadian public. The men were constantly in the news. No such groundswell for Fahmy, who has languished in jail for three weeks and found support in only a handful of Canadian editorials. The papers have followed his detainment, writing about him every few days, but his most ardent public supporters don’t live in Canada.

Fahmy is a Canadian citizen. Why doesn’t his country seem to care?

ABOVE THE FOLD

Globe: Stephen Harper told the Israeli Parliament why he so steadfastly supports the country.

Post: Harper’s speech reflected a new kind of balanced policy in the Middle East.

Star: Harper made overtures to both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian divide.

Citizen: Two Arab Israeli parliamentarians heckled Harper and walked out on his speech.

CBC: Russian authorities are hunting down three potential suicide bombers in Sochi.

CTV: Harper and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to strengthen free trade.

NNW: Harper’s entourage in the Middle East includes many Conservative donors.

MOSTLY MISSED

Near: United Church clergy are forming a union to fight for better wages and working conditions.

Far: A new Spanish cardinal at the Vatican City says homosexuality can be cured.




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A Canadian is languishing in an Egyptian prison

  1. ‘Why doesn’t his country seem to care?’

    Because his name is Mohamed Fahmy….not say, Fred Smith.

  2. Why doesn’t his country seem to care?

    Probably because Canadians would like to know if he’s guilty of the charges allegations being laid against him before jumping to conclusions. It’s quite bizarre how the Press seem to always have to defend other members of the press with scant evidence. Just because he’s a journalist, doesn’t mean he couldn’t also be aiding the MB.

    • “Still, none of the men has been charged.” … oops ?

      • You’re correct. Should be allegations.

        • So in other words you condone the illicit detention of Canadians abroad (or anyone else for that matter) until you know for a fact if they are guilty or not regardless of whether charges are laid against them or not?

          • Egypt is a sovereign nation. While their justice system isn’t likely perfect, I still think they should be allowed to go through their processes. I see no reason why being Canadian should be a get-out-of-jail-free card anytime in a foreign country.

        • how do you learn if allegations are true? make them charges.

          if they don’t stick let them go. Waiting to hear the result before you decide if their predicament should be a concern is putting the cart before the horse.

          (I realize that we are applying Canadian standards to distant countries here, and under Egyptian law they may not be entitled to such treatment, but it’s a best practice and it can’t hurt to encourage it).

    • We can agree to disagree. But when an avalanche of reputable correspondents in the region come to their colleagues’ defence, especially given the seriousness of the allegations, I tend to trust the correspondents. These journalists stand accused of spreading false news, but their news reports aren’t hidden from the public; they’re broadcast, and their content speaks for itself.

    • Just because he’s an Egyptian born Canadian doesn’t mean he IS aiding the MB. Your biases are showing Rick. It’s a slippery slope – when we only care about some Canadians being detained, eventually it’s a problem for all Canadians abroad.

      • If ANYONE chooses to work in a country with doubtful enforcement of human rights ………..they “takes their chances”.

        Fair trials in these Countries can be non existent. That said… HE IS a Canadian citizen OUR Government IS obligated to insist that he either be charged promptly…or released.
        Canadians in another country are subject to that countries laws…but there is a GREAT difference between a country “enforcing a law” and “unlawful imprisonment”….. to hung out to dry,without a trial. That is NOT acceptable.

  3. Wish I cared.

    • And who cares if you do or not??

  4. You answered your own question, Tailor-Vaisey.

    People care less because of Greyson and Loubani. People are getting tired of do-gooders putting themselves in jeopardy and whining to the rest of us when things go wrong.

    The people who actually live in Egypt have been through far more than these globe-trotting journalists, let’s have some sympathy for them. If Fahmy is too much of a baby to handle a few weeks detention, then why the heck is he doing journalism inside Egypt in the first place? Doesn’t he read the news? Egypt is a lawless place that has been through two violent revolutions. If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen!
    One other thing – people forget how Greyson and Loubani changed their story from week to week. First they said they were getting ice cream and did not keep track of time. Later we find out that they were in the middle of a violent riot taking pictures and tending to the wounded – getting themselves involved, in other words. Taking sides… against the government… as foreigners. Their story was rife with falsehoods. Turns out they were carrying surveillance equipment as well. Their depiction of their treatment was also rife with falsehoods… intentionally… to arouse the sympathies of their compatriots back home. They whined like babies about the beatings and the torture, but of course they looked just fine when they got home – I guess they can’t handle being detained. They missed their ice cream. Well, here we go again.

    • If a story being rife with falsehoods meant anything to you, then the Senate scandal would have you up in arms… but no, you are just a shill for Harper. Be honest and come clean with your intentions.
      They are Canadian, they are being unlawfully held and the only reason Harper is ignoring them is because they are journalists and he views them as the enemy.

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