Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Egyptian-Canadian Journalist Set to Go on Trial in Cairo Next Week

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Egyptian-Canadian Journalist Set to Go on Trial in Cairo Next Week

Article excerpt

Trial set for Canadian journalist in Cairo

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An Egyptian-Canadian journalist who has been imprisoned in Cairo for a month and a half is expected to go on trial next week, his family said Monday.

Mohamed Fahmy -- who was charged last month with several offences, including being a member of a terrorist group -- is to face trial Feb. 20.

"That's actually surprising because knowing how things are in Egypt, it usually takes a long time to get a court date," Fahmy's brother Sherif told The Canadian Press. "We're hoping that it's going to be over."

Fahmy was working for satellite news broadcaster Al Jazeera English when he and two co-workers -- Australian Peter Greste and Egyptian Baher Mohamed -- were taken into custody on Dec. 29.

The arrests were characterized as part of a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, which Egypt's military-led government has branded a terrorist organization ever since the July ouster of former Islamist president Mohammed Morsi.

Fahmy and his colleagues were held without charge for a month before Egypt slapped them and 17 other Al Jazeera employees with several offences in what was believed to be the first time Egypt sent journalists to trial for terrorism.

Fahmy, Al Jazeera English's acting bureau chief in Cairo, was charged with using illegal equipment, broadcasting false news that endangered national security and being a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

His family and Al Jazeera have strongly denied the allegations, saying the journalists were just doing their job.

As the case heads to court, Fahmy's family said the 40-year-old was optimistic.

"He's just hoping that something good's going to happen," Fahmy's brother said.

Helping his outlook was the fact that he was transferred last week from a cramped, cold single cell in a notorious prison, to a larger, more hospitable cell in a different prison where he is now being held with his two colleagues. …

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