TORONTO, Sept. 23, 2015 – PEN Canada welcomes the release of Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy and his Egyptian colleague Baher Mohamed, two of three Al-Jazeera journalists charged with terrorism related offences in 2013. Both were released after pardon from Egyptian President Adbel Fattah el-Sisi.
“We are heartened by news of Mr Fahmy’s release and celebrate this development alongside our fellow Canadians, fellow writers, and all people who understand free speech as a cornerstone of a just society,” said PEN Canada President Randy Boyagoda. “Strengthened by this outcome, PEN Canada presses on with our efforts to help secure the release of imprisoned writers around the world, including those who remain imprisoned in Egypt.”
Fahmy, along with colleagues Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed, was convicted in June 2014 of conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood to broadcast false news that would destabilize Egypt. After an appeals court threw out the original verdict, Fahmy was retried and sentenced to three years in prison on August 29, 2015. Prosecutors were not able to provide credible evidence of conspiracy at any point during the criminal proceedings.
A Canadian citizen, Fahmy renounced his Egyptian citizenship in early February 2015 in a bid to be deported as per a presidential decree on foreign nationals. Fahmy’s colleague Greste had been deported to Australia on February 1st, 2015. He was also pardoned by President el-Sisi.