Freed Al Jazeera reporter disappointed by Canadian PM

Newly released Al Jazeera journalist says he was ‘let down’ by Canadian Prime Minister’s lack of effort to help grant his freedom from Egyptian prison

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Al Jazeera journalist Mohammed Fahmy speaking to the BBC on Thursday said that he was "let down" by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s lethargic attempts to negotiate his freedom from prison in Egypt. 

Fahmy comparing the Canadian government's efforts to the Australian government said that he "should have put more clout and stepped up the way the Australian government did in their lobbying to release me."

"For example, the [former] Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott, he called [Egyptian] President [Abdul Fattah al] Sisi about three times when Peter was in prison. The Canadian prime minister didn't,” he added.

However, expressing his gratitude to Canadian diplomats, who he said "really stepped up their approach."

There was no formal statement released by the Canadian government in response to Fahmy’s comments. 

The Canadian journalists - Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohammed - along with Australian journalist Peter Greste were arrested in December 2013, and sentenced prison for airing news which was deemed as false and biased by the Egyptian court. 

Fahmy and Baher were pardoned on September 23 after staying in detention for more than a year. It is still unclear if the Australian correspondent, who was deported in February,  has also been pardoned. 

The reporters were working in Al Jazeera’s English bureau in Cairo during the June 30 anti-Morsi protests in 2013. They were arrested and given 10 years in jail on June 2014, then given a lesser verdict of 3 years after prolonged appeal a year later.

The Egyptian government had accused the men of shooting and broadcasting material harmful to Egypt’s internal security.

TRTWorld and agencies