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CAJ celebrates Mohamed Fahmy’s release

*Update- Sept.23, 2015* The Canadian Association of Journalists celebrates Egypt’s pardon of Mohamed Fahmy, a wrongly imprisoned journalist who fought a protracted, two-year legal battle for his own freedom. Fahmy and two Al Jazeera colleagues were jailed and charged simply for doing their jobs, and today’s pardons affirm that Fahmy never should have been accused of any wrongdoing. This process brings into stark relief the necessity of governments to aggressively support their own citizens who work abroad as journalists.

The CAJ recognizes that Fahmy’s freedom came about thanks to the tireless work of his family, lawyers and a united coalition of international press-freedom organizations that pressed the Egyptian government to release Fahmy unconditionally. While today’s pardon represents a victory for world press freedom, but too many journalists still fear for their lives as they try to report the news. The CAJ continues to support the vital work of international organizations that expose wrongful arrests and killings of journalists around the world.

*Update – Aug. 29, 2015* The Canadian Association of Journalists joins with the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression in demanding Prime Minister Stephen Harper immediately intervene in the unjust sentencing today of Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy in Egypt. Fahmy and his co-workers at Al-Jazeera were convicted for simply doing their jobs as journalists.

*Update – July 30, 2015* In Cairo, a court session for the re-trial of Fahmy and his colleagues has been adjourned until Aug. 2. The journalists and Al Jazeera have issued statements expressing their disapproval.

*Update – July 30, 2015* The CAJ contact for this release is now Nick Taylor-Vaisey, CAJ president, 647-968-2393, nick@caj.ca.

*Update – Jan. 11, 2015* Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has travelled to Egypt to push for Mr. Fahmy’s release, CBC News has reported. The news follows a Jan. 1 report that Mr. Fahmy would be granted a retrial

*Update- Nov. 5, 2014* Amal Clooney and Mark Wassouff, lawyers for Mohamed Fahmy, have released a new statement calling for his release. It’s available in English and Arabic here: http://www.doughtystreet.co.uk/news/article/press-statement-by-a-clooney-and-m-wassouf-mr-mohamed-fahmy.

*Update – Oct. 10, 2014* Mohamed Fahmy’s family has launched a crowdfunding campaign to cover legal fees. Here is the link: gofundme.com/fjflds

OTTAWA, June 25, 2014 /CNW/ – The Canadian Association of Journalists condemns the conviction of Mohamed Fahmy, a Canadian journalist who served as Al Jazeera’s acting bureau chief in Cairo, to seven years in prison for terrorism-related crimes.

Fahmy’s conviction came after a trial bereft of damning, or even relevant, evidence. We call on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to continue efforts matching the chorus of international demands for Fahmy’s release.

“The allegations against Fahmy and his colleagues were ridiculous from the outset. The journalists were simply doing their jobs, reporting crucial stories during a turbulent period in Egypt’s history,” said CAJ President Hugo Rodrigues. “Fahmy’s sentence is further proof that the current Egyptian regime is not interested in championing the rights of journalists.”

The CAJ urges Harper to continue the work being done to lobby Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and insist on presidential pardons for Fahmy and his colleagues, who were detained for 178 days before their conviction. While federal ministers have confirmed the government is involved in lobbying for Fahmy’s release, a show of support from the prime minister would clearly indicate the government’s resolve to see him released.

“Fahmy’s brother has urged Harper to pick up the phone and call el-Sisi,” said Rodrigues. “We will send our own letter to the Egyptian Embassy in Canada and to the Prime Minister’s Office asking for the same action.”

The CAJ is Canada’s largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing over 600 members across the country. The CAJ’s primary roles are to provide high-quality professional development for its members and public-interest advocacy.

For further information:
Hugo Rodrigues, CAJ president – 613-330-8396 cell, hugo@caj.ca

 

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