A Canadian is languishing in an Egyptian prison - Macleans.ca

A Canadian is languishing in an Egyptian prison

Why doesn’t his country seem to care?


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“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?


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