Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Notable Canadians Call on Harper to Push Mohamed Fahmy's Case with Egypt

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Notable Canadians Call on Harper to Push Mohamed Fahmy's Case with Egypt

Article excerpt

Notable Canadians push Harper on Fahmy case

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TORONTO - A number of prominent Canadians are calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to intervene "personally and immediately" in the case of a Canadian journalist on trial in Egypt.

In an open letter released Monday, 250 people -- including comedian Rick Mercer, filmmaker Atom Egoyan, author Michael Ondaatje and diplomat Stephen Lewis -- urged Harper to press his Egyptian counterpart on Mohamed Fahmy's case.

Fahmy was released on bail last Friday after spending more than a year in a Cairo prison, but he is set to return to court next week for the continuation of a retrial on terror-related charges his family has called ridiculous.

The letter to Harper calls for the prime minister to ask that Fahmy be allowed to leave Egypt under a new law that allows foreigners convicted or accused of crimes to be deported.

"We the undersigned are writing to urge you to intervene personally and immediately in the case of Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy, who is currently facing retrial in Egypt after 411 days of incarceration," the letter to Harper said.

"We stand in support of Mr. Fahmy along with thousands of Canadians, international human rights organizations and global political leaders urging you to contact (Egyptian) President (Abdel Fattah) el-Sissi and request that Mr. Fahmy's deportation order be honoured."

When Harper was asked by reporters last week if he had spoken directly to the Egyptian president about Fahmy, he would only say the Canadian government has been in contact with Egyptian authorities at all levels, including his level.

Fahmy and his family have criticized the Canadian government for what they see as a lack of adequate action on the case, particularly after Fahmy's Australian colleague was deported from Egypt two weeks ago.

In an interview with the British newspaper The Independent on the day he left prison, Fahmy said it was the "geo-political score-settling" among Middle Eastern countries that put him and his two Al Jazeera English colleagues -- Australian Peter Greste and Egyptian Baher Mohamed -- behind bars. …

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