NDP demands Stephen Harper stop campaigning and work on bringing journalist Mohamed Fahmy back to Vancouver

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      Today's sentencing of three former Al Jazeera journalists in Egypt has prompted the NDP to issue a call to Conservative Leader Stephen Harper to take action.

      One of the three, Canadian Mohamed Fahmy, has lined up a job as an adjunct professor in UBC's graduate school of journalism.

      But with this morning's three-year sentence for broadcasting "false news" and using a hotel to broadcast without permission, Fahmy is going back to jail after having already served more than 400 days of hard time.

      "Prime Minister Stephen Harper must take a break from electioneering and speak directly with Egyptian President al-Sisi on behalf of Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy to seek a personal guarantee that Mr. Fahmy will be pardoned and returned to Canada immediately," NDP foreign-affairs critic Paul Dewar said in a statement.

      Egyptian Baher Mohamed and Australian Peter Greste were also sentenced in a verdict that's been condemned by media-freedom activists, including Canadian Journalists for Free Expression.

      It was their second trial after an appeal-court judge ruled that the first trial wasn't conducted properly.

      Greste was deported earlier this year so he won't be returning to an Egyptian jail. After the sentence was issued, Greste tweeted his outrage.

      In an interview with the Georgia Straight last month, Fahmy vehemently denied that he had broken any laws.

      He felt at the time that the evidence was clear that he was not involved in spreading false news while serving as the Cairo bureau chief for Al Jazeera's English-language network.

      "I'm not a revolutionary," Fahmy said at the time. "My cause is my freedom and freedom of expression."

      He lived in Vancouver in the 1990s and was very much looking forward to returning to the city should he be acquitted.

      Fahmy was represented by human-rights lawyer Amal Clooney, wife of actor and director George Clooney.

      She has been working with Canadian diplomatic staff to figure out how Fahmy could be deported in the event that he was sent back to jail. Fahmy renounced his dual Egyptian citizenship to facilitate that possibility.

      Channel 4 showed how Al Jazeera journalists were caught in a dispute between Qatar and Egypt.



      Sharon Dixin

      Aug 29, 2015 at 12:58pm

      This is an absolute outrage.I am embarrassed by government response.Do something to fix this injustice.


      Aug 29, 2015 at 2:32pm

      I agree that Mr harper should stop campaigning and do his best to bring Fahmy home...with one small catch...all the other hopefuls should stop campaigning as well. The election isn't until mid October...I think we could all use a break from the political ranting and raving.


      Aug 29, 2015 at 4:45pm

      Excellent advice for Harper. My guess is that he won't do it because he doesn't like reporters of any media unless they write positive stories about him. He sure doesn't like anyone with dual citizenship even if they came to Canada when they were 14 years old.

      James Blatchford

      Aug 29, 2015 at 5:20pm

      As I've said before, there are two people being held accountable; Mr. Fahmy and Mr. Wright....Next question.

      yeah sure

      Aug 29, 2015 at 9:31pm

      You can contact the PMO about this injustice to Mr. Fahme , but don't expect much.

      They don't read their emails.