Canada made it clear to Egypt that Fahmy verdict not right: Harper

Canadian journalist jailed in Egypt for supporting Muslim Brotherhood

ROBERVAL, Que. — Canada is deeply concerned with the terrorism verdicts and prison sentences handed down against three journalists, including Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fahmy, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Wednesday.

And he said he has expressed Canada’s displeasure to the Egyptian government.

The comments, which came during a news conference in Quebec, were Harper’s first public statements since the Al-Jazeera journalists — Fahmy, Australian Peter Greste and Egyptian Baher Mohamed — were convicted in a Cairo court Monday and sentenced to seven years in prison.

The three journalists were convicted of giving support to the Muslim Brotherhood, which Egypt labels a terrorist group.

The journalists deny they are terrorists and say they were just doing their job.

Their continuing imprisonment has sparked harsh international condemnation of Egypt.

And it has also opened the Harper government to widespread criticism for what some say is a tepid response, compared to the tough language coming from the United States, Britain and Australia.

“We have been very clear on our concerns — deep concerns — about not just the verdict but about this process from the beginning,” Harper said.

“We have expressed those to the authorities.”

Harper also said Canada has been providing consular support and services to Fahmy from the outset.

The Harper government has been criticized for not taking a tougher stand on Fahmy, but Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has said that bullhorn diplomacy won’t work.

Baird said the government is trying to have Fahmy freed on appeal, or through a possible presidential pardon. Though Egypt’s president has ruled out intervening in the case, legal experts are divided on whether the imprisoned trio has the possibility of being freed as part of the ongoing legal process.

“Obviously there are some difficult circumstances here,” Harper said. “But the Egyptian authorities are very aware of the position of the government of Canada, and we will continue to press that position going forward.”

Baird has that said Fahmy’s case is complicated by the fact that he is a dual Egyptian and Canadian national and also by the nature of the relationship between Al-Jazeera, its Qatari ownership and Egypt’s banned Muslim Brotherhood.

Baird has said that the government of Qatar provides financial support to the Muslim Brotherhood, but he said no one seriously believes that Fahmy was in “cahoots” with the organization.

Egypt’s former top soldier, Abdel-Fattah El-Sissi, was elected president last month, completing a transition to power that started last July when millions of Egyptians took to the streets to demonstrate against Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

The Muslim Brotherhood has since been rebranded a terrorist group. The government accused Fahmy and his two colleagues of compromising Egypt’s national security though its reporting on the Brotherhood.

The case raises serious questions about media freedom, and it has been widely denounced, including by the international rights’ watchdogs Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.




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Canada made it clear to Egypt that Fahmy verdict not right: Harper

  1. The Harper Government made it clear, there are no votes in this for the conservatives in 2015.

  2. If Harper’s “make it clear” means what it has on so many other occasions, it’s just a gratuitous statement. According to Baird they’re relying of the Kafkaesque Egyptian judicial system to overturn the verdict.

    How bizarre is that, considering the Harperites are so critical of Canada’s judicial system but have faith in Egypt’s?

  3. Just to add, I hope Quebec realize that the guy standing next to your premier today is the same guy who was in favor of the CAQ winning in the last election and used to demonize Quebecers as separatists just a few short years ago(if he said it, he meant it), so I hope Quebec dosnt fall for this snow job Harper is trying to give with his big COLLABORATION signs, you know the ones taxpayers pay for, like the ECONomic Action Plan adds.

    • No doubt the Progressive-in-name-only Conservatives’ defeat in Ontario has sent Harper scurrying to play nice with Quebec, if he hopes to win in 2015.

  4. Harp thunders away at Russia….who just ignores him….but the whole country had to push to get a response to events in Egypt.

    • Tiger on Putin where he is a fringe player with no chance of success or influence; Pussy with Egypt where he might actually accomplish something.

  5. Another reason not to support Harper. No guts to tell the truth and do the moral high road.

    Fact is a 10+ year Egyptian born citizen living in Egypt, not paying Canadian taxes, was a so called journalist, who jumped in to support violence and terrorism gets pinched and it becomes a taxpayers problem? All because for a brief period of his life he got citizenship in Canada via his parents?

    Sounds like Muslim pandering too, a white immigrant guy was left in a Mexican jail to rot, never goth 1/100th the attention this idiot gets.

    Fact is, he is a Egyptian, he participated, he is subject to local Egyptian laws and time for the Canadian whiners to shut up. Canada is a source of terrorism, and our weal jellyfish politicians have no guts to do what is right. After all, might tick off a million Sharia loving Muslims in Canada, many which can vote and send money for terrorism.

    • Dave777, Maclean’s very own troll.

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