Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy
ECCD Statement on Mohamed Fahmy's Release


February 12 2015
Ottawa

The Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy (ECCD) would like to congratulate Mr. Mohamed Fahmy, the Canadian/Egyptian journalist held in Egypt on his release on bail from prison. We hope that Mr. Fahmy and his family will have a fast recovery from the ordeal they have been through, and that his case will be fully resolved soon. We take this opportunity to remind the whole world of the tens of thousands of Egyptians who are still behind bars in unbearable conditions as a punishment for exercising their right to freedom of speech. The Egyptian government still continues its assault on freedom of expression through detaining scores of journalists and suppressing their freedom of expression.

While we thank the Canadian government for its efforts to release Mr. Fahmy, we strongly believe that these efforts were too little too late. A simple comparison between the Canadian government's reaction to the arrest of two CBC journalists in Turkey for one day, a year ago and their reaction to Mohamed Fahmy's ordeal and other similar cases in Egypt reveals a clear double standard.

We call on all Canadians to pressure the Canadian government to stop their silence over the well-documented human rights violations committed by the Egyptian government.

Background: In June 2014, Mr. Fahmy, an Egyptian Canadian Journalist, and two Al-Jazeera colleagues, Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed, were convicted on charges of falsifying news and assisting the banned Muslim Brotherhood. This followed the arrest and detention of Mohamed Fahmy months earlier, in December 2013. Mr. Fahmy received a seven year prison sentence. ECCD and Several Human rights organizations condemned the detainment and the convictions as an unacceptable attack on media freedom in Egypt.

Canada's condemnation of Mr. Fahmy's sentence back in June 2014 paled in comparison to the strong statement of condemnation from the Australian foreign minister Julia Bishop, and other world leaders. Mr. Baird's disregard ECCD's repeated requests for a meeting to discuss this case and others, and issued no response to Amnesty International open letters sent to him in April and June of 2014.

In January 2015 the court of appeal ordered a retrial of Mohamed Fahmy and his two colleagues. One of them, Peter Greste, an Australian national, was deported since but Mohamed Fahmy, who gave up his Egyptian Nationality in the hope of being deported to Canada was kept in prison. Mohamed Fahmy and his other colleague, Baher Mohamed, who only carries the Egyptian Nationality, were released on bail on February 12, 2015, pending the retrial.

About ECCDEgyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy (ECCD) is a politically independent, non-affiliated pan Canadian organization with chapters in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Quebec City, Hamilton, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary, Vancouver, and Kingston, which advocates for democracy and human rights in Egypt.

For more information:
www.eccd.ca
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Ehab Lotayef: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., +1 (514) 941-9792
Ehab El-Komy: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., +1 (613) 852-1694

Ottawa: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Sherif Elkholy: (613) 295-3994
Toronto: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Mohamed Bakr: (289) 981-2686
Montreal: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Ehab Lotayef: (514) 941-9792
Vancouver: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Fatma Taha: (604) 721-4555
Calgary: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Mohamed Hassanin: (403) 470-3687
Kingston: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Mohamed Salah: (613) 770-3399

Joint Press Release by Amnesty International Canada and the Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy

Amnesty International Canada Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy 

Several student unions in Canadian universities across Canada have adopted a statement of solidarity "with Egyptian students' right to freedom of expression and to peaceful assembly", and to a "campus environment that is free from fear, intimidation and police abuse."

The statement, signed by Ryerson Students' Union, University of Regina Students' Union, University of Victoria Students' Society, University of Toronto Graduate Students' Union Executive Committee, Carleton University Graduate Students' Association, and Post Graduate Students' Society of McGill University, called on the Canadian Government, civil society and human rights groups to exert all possible pressure on the Egyptian authorities to "drop all charges and immediately and unconditionally release all students arrested solely for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression and assembly." The statement was co-drafted by Amnesty International Canada and the Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy (ECCD).

"We support Egyptian Students and their right to attend post-secondary education without fear or intimidation," said Devon Peters, President of University of Regina Students' Union. According to Amnesty International reports, this academic year witnessed at least 90 students injured and some 200 arrested, and at least one student was killed during police force raids on university campuses in Egypt. "Universities are places where values such as freedom of expression and the free exchange of ideas should be held in the highest regard," said Greg Atkinson, Director of External Relations of University of Victoria Students' Society. "We stand behind the students in Egypt who are being denied these fundamental rights," he added.

The statement also demanded to "bring those responsible for arbitrary or abusive force" to justice. "The lack of accountability for such violations by Egyptian security forces against demonstrations, including unlawful killings, gives them the green light to carry on brutalizing student protesters," said Hilary Homes, Amnesty International Canada MENA Campaigner.

Other student clubs representing community groups, human rights or political groups from other universities in Canada also signed the statement. "There are far too many governments repressing their citizens in the world today," said Tyler Lively, Canadian Regional Director of Students for Liberty, a worldwide libertarian student organization, which signed the statement.

"We as Canadians should seek the possible measures to put an end to the ongoing violations against students in Egyptian universities," said Ehab Lotayef, ECCD Board Chair. "The attitude of the Canadian and other western governments is giving a green light to the military regime in Egypt to continue arresting, killing, and torturing students and citizens in general," he added.

For the full text of the statement, and the full list of signatories, please visit:

About Amnesty International: Amnesty International is a global movement of over 7 million people in more than 150 countries working together to protect and promote human rights.

About ECCD: Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy (ECCD) is a politically independent, non-affiliated pan-Canadian organization with chapters in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Quebec City, Hamilton, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary, Vancouver, and Kingston, which advocates for democracy and human rights in Egypt.

For further information contact:

  • Amnesty International Canada: Hilary Homes, MENA Campaigner, (613)744-7667#247 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy: Mostafa Elhoushi, Media and Outreach, (403) 702-4156, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Contact information of signatories:

  • Ryerson Students' Union: Rajean Hoilett, President, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Office: (416) 979-5255 Ext 2324, Cell: (289) 923-3534
  • University of Regina Students' Union: Devon Peters, President, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Phone: (306) 586-8811 Ext 206
  • University of Victoria Students' Society: Greg Atkinson, Director of External Relations, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Office: (250) 721-8366, Cell: (250) 813-1752
  • University of Toronto Graduate Students' Union Executive Committee: Susanne Waldorf, Civics and Environment Commissioner, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Phone: (416) 978-0510
  • Carleton University Graduate Students' Association: Justine Mallah, VP Operations, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Phone: (613) 520-6616 Ext 8270
  • Post Graduate Students' Society of McGill University: Julien Ouellet, External Affairs Officer, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Phone: (514) 398-3756

Background:

Since the overthrow of Egypt's first democratically elected president on July 13 2013, Egypt has witnessed a series of damaging blows to human rights and state violence on an unprecedented scale. Widespread student protests against the repressive practices of the current military regime in Egypt have rocked Egypt since the start of the previous academic year and since the beginning of the current academic year on 11 October 2014, and have been met by a fierce response from the authorities.

According to the Egyptian Observatory of Rights and Freedoms, more than 210 students have been killed since July 3rd 2013, 17 of them have been killed during police raids on campuses, and 6 of them died in detention due to torture or inadequate health care. At least 2087 students across the country have been detained since July 3rd 2013, according to Marsad Tolab Horreya (Student Freedom Observatory), many of them remain in detention on vague or groundless charges including participating in protests without authorization. Moreover, at least 639 students have been expelled from their universities due to protesting, many of them were dismissed without due disciplinary process.

You may also refer to these reports from Amnesty International to help explain more details on the student protests in Egypt as well as the violations of human rights in Egypt in general:

Egypt: Security forces use excessive force to crush student protests (17 October 2014)
Egypt: Student detained and tortured after protest: Mahmoud Hussien (14 November 2014)
Egypt: Further information: Women jailed for campus protests (30 May 2014)
Egypt's defence of human rights record 'cynical' (5 November 2014)
Blog: In Solidarity with Egyptian Students on #Jan25
Human Rights In Egypt

 

Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy

ECCD Statement:The Coup Government has No Right to Celebrate January 25th 

 


January 23 2015
Ottawa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
In January 2011, the Egyptian people took the streets chanting against a regime that was destroying the country. Many were killed in the process.

Today, 4 years later, the regime that killed and continues to kill and detain innocent, peaceful protesters has no legitimacy to celebrate the 2011 revolution.

The current Egyptian coup government and its diplomatic missions have no legitimacy to hold January 25th celebrations as it is the main reason we are so far away from achieving any of the 2011 revolution's goals of bread, freedom, human dignity and social justice. The people of Egypt are still struggling and presenting sacrifices everyday to achieve the revolution's objectives of democracy.

Security has not been restored. Egyptians today fear for their security more than anytime before.

Economically, Egyptians suffer serious distress and the poor have only gotten poorer.

The regime only cares for it's own survival, at any cost. More than 40 thousand are detained and suffering inhuman treatment in their detention.

Thousands have been killed by the same government that is inviting people to celebrate the 2011 revolution.

No celebration should take place before the country is on the right path to achieve the revolution's goals. The January 25th revolution and it is celebration shall not be hijacked by those who stood against it.

We call on every honorable human being, every international organization and every government to stand against the current illegitimate dictatorial regime in Egypt.

The people and their hope for bread, freedom, human dignity and social justice will prevail.

The Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy (ECCD)
January 23, 2015

About ECCDEgyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy (ECCD) is a politically independent, non-affiliated pan Canadian organization with chapters in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Quebec City, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary, Vancouver, and Kingston, which advocates for democracy and human rights in Egypt.

For more information:
www.eccd.ca
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Ehab Lotayef: +1 (514) 941-9792
Ehab El-Komy: +1 (613) 852-1694

Please contact ECCD and its regional representatives to get contacts of Egyptian Canadians who can be interviewed to provide their insightful perspectives on what Egypt witnessed over the past 4 years. Contacts of Egyptian Canadians who have participated in Egypt's revolution, or have witnessed or have been impacted by its events, can be provided:

Ottawa: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Sherif Elkholy: (613) 295-3994
Toronto: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Mohamed Bakr: (289) 981-2686
Montreal: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Ehab Lotayef: (514) 941-9792
Vancouver: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Fatma Taha: (604) 218-2071
Calgary: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Osama Refaei: (587) 719-3916
Kingston: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Mohamed Salah: (613) 770-3399

Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy
ECCD Statement: An end to 558 days of unlawful detainment in Egypt: The release of Canadian permanent resident Khaled Al-Qazzaz

January 12 2014
Ottawa

The Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy (ECCD) joins Khaled Al-Qazzaz's supporters in celebrating the end of 558 days of unlawful detainment in Egypt.

ECCD extends its sincere congratulations to Sarah Attia, Canadian born wife of Khaled Al-Qazzaz, and their children, and hopes that they will all soon be reunited in Canada.

"All of us who have campaigned for the release of Mr. Al-Qazzaz, including some Canadian MP's, must be elated today. But the campaign is far from over. This is just an example of how eager the Egyptian regime is to silence international voices critical of its human rights record" said Mohamed Kamel, a founding member of ECCD. "We at ECCD remain gravely concerned with regard to the ongoing and very serious human rights violations in Egypt." added Mr. Kamel.

Mr. Baird has announced that he will be visiting Egypt soon. ECCD renews its call that the foreign affairs minister should take a firm stand and a principled position by voicing a strong opposition to human rights abuses in Egypt. He should also call for the immediate release of Mr. Fahmy, the Canadian Journalist imprisoned in Egypt, and his colleagues.

ECCD believes that Canada can lead the international community in pressing the Egyptian authorities to swiftly address the human rights concerns. We call upon the Canadian Government to issue a strong statement indicating that Canada is relieved to see Mr. Al-Qazzaz return to his family but expects immediate action to release Mr. Fahmy, and insists on immediate genuine steps towards restoring the protection of human rights and returning to a path of true democratic reform in Egypt.

About ECCDEgyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy (ECCD) is a politically independent, non-affiliated pan Canadian organization with chapters in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Quebec City, Hamilton, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary, Vancouver, and Kingston, which advocates for democracy and human rights in Egypt.

For more information:
www.eccd.ca
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Ehab Lotayef: +1 (514) 941-9792
Ehab El-Komy: +1 (613) 852-1694

Background: 

Mr. Al-Qazzaz, a former aide of President Morsi, is one of thousands of individuals who were locked up over the past year and half as part of a sweeping crackdown on dissent. While the Egyptian judiciary handed down shocking mass death sentences to hundreds of supporters of President Morsi, similar to Mr. Al-Qazzaz, the majority of the detainees remain unlawfully detained without charges.

The Egyptian Attorney General has issued an order for Mr. Al-Qazzaz's release on Monday December 29th 2014 and the prison authorities have released him on January 11th 2015. Unfortunately, Mr. Al-Qazaz's release, which was undoubtedly expedited by a tireless international campaign for his release, is not an indication of a change in government policy on human rights.

In June 2014, Mr. Fahmy, an Egyptian Canadian Journalist, and two Al-Jazeera colleagues, Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed, were convicted on charges of falsifying news and assisting the banned Muslim Brotherhood. Mr. Fahmy received a seven year prison sentence. Following media speculations that Mr. Fahmy and Mr. Greste may soon be released, the Egyptian court has ordered a re-trial of the 3 journalists. In the meantime, Mr. Fahmy and his colleagues remain in prison.

Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy
ECCD Statement on Speculations Regarding Mohamed Fahmy's Release


December 28 2014
Ottawa

The Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy (ECCD) hopes that the recent media speculations regarding the possible deportation of Mohamed Fahmy from Egypt to Canada are true. We truly hope that Mr. Fahmy will soon be reunited with his family in Canada.

ECCD renews its call upon the Canadian Government Officials, who recently stated that they are "actively engaged in the case", to intensify their efforts to expedite Mr. Fahmy's release and return to Canada.

Commenting on recent media reports, Ehab Lotayf, the chair of ECCD Committee said: "All Canadians including Canadian officials engaged in Mr. Fahmy's case will have a reason to celebrate if he is indeed released and returned to Canada". "Such a joy, however, should not turn into a political photo op and overshadow the efforts that must continue to clear Mr. Fahmy's name, and release Khaled Al-Qazzaz" added Mr. Lotayf. Mr. Al-Qazaz is the Canadian permanent resident, the husband of a Canadian wife, and the father of Canadian children, who has been detained in Egypt without charge since the coup of July 2013.

ECCD believes that this is another opportunity for the Canadian government to review its support of the current Egyptian regime which continues to unlawfully detain and imprison thousands of Egyptians, including members of the press, under politically motivated sentences, similar to Mr. Fahmy's seven year prison sentence.

Background: In June 2014, Mr. Fahmy, an Egyptian Canadian Journalist, and two Al-Jazeera colleagues, Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed, were convicted on charges of falsifying news and assisting the banned Muslim Brotherhood. Mr. Fahmy received a seven year prison sentence. ECCD and Several Human rights organizations condemned the detainment and the convictions as an unacceptable attack on media freedom in Egypt.

Canada's condemnation of Mr. Fahmy's sentence back in June 2014 paled in comparison to the strong statement of condemnation from the Australian foreign minister Julia Bishop, and other world leaders. Mr. Baird's disregard ECCD's repeated requests for a meeting to discuss this case and others, and issued no response to Amnesty International open letters sent to him in April and June of 2014.

Recent Media reports suggest that Mr. Fahmy and Mr. Greste may be soon released in accordance with a new decree by General Sisi which stated the foreign prisoners can be deported to their home country. The reports also suggest that their release is part of deal that included Qatar's about-face position regarding the coup d'etat of July 3rd 2013. Several media outlets mentioned that the speculations of Mr. Fahmy's release came on the heels of Qatar's recent decision to terminate the broadcast of Aljazeera's Egyptian channel, one of the most critical voices of General Sisi in the region.

About ECCDEgyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy (ECCD) is a politically independent, non-affiliated pan Canadian organization with chapters in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Quebec City, Hamilton, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary, Vancouver, and Kingston, which advocates for democracy and human rights in Egypt.

For more information:
www.eccd.ca
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Ehab Lotayef: +1 (514) 941-9792
Ehab El-Komy: +1 (613) 852-1694