Toronto, February 12, 2015 – PEN Canada welcomes the release on bail of Al-Jazeera journalists Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed and renews its call on Egypt’s authorities to drop all charges against the journalists and to order their unconditional release.
In December 2013, Egyptian security forces stormed Al Jazeera’s makeshift offices in a Cairo hotel and arrested journalists Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy, and Baher Mohammed. The three men were held for 15 days on terror-related charges, and for spreading false news harmful to state security. They plead not guilty during what was widely condemned as a sham trial and were sentenced to between seven and ten years in prison.
Both Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed have been held in Egypt for 411 days and the announcement of their release on bail comes on the heels of the repatriation of their colleague, Peter Greste to his native Australia. Their retrial will continue on February 23, 2015.
PEN Canada remains concerned about ongoing threats to free expression in Egypt.
PEN Canada is a nonpartisan organization of writers that works with others to defend freedom of expression as a basic human right at home and abroad. PEN Canada promotes literature, fights censorship, helps free persecuted writers from prison, and assists writers living in exile in Canada. PEN Canada is the Canadian centre of PEN International, a community of writers that operates on five continents with 148 centres in over 100 countries.