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
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