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Canada Is Reportedly Asking Egypt to Pardon Al Jazeera Journalist Mohamed Fahmy

Fahmy, a Canadian citizen, and two other Al-Jazeera English journalists were sentenced on Saturday to three years in prison for terrorism-related crimes, a verdict that was widely denounced by human rights organizations.
Amr Nabil/AP

The Canadian Embassy in Cairo is petitioning the Egyptian government to pardon imprisoned journalist Mohamed Fahmy to Canada or deport him back to Canada, his wife told The Canadian Press on Monday.

"Nobody understands how this happened," Marwa Omara said after an Egyptian court sentenced Fahmy and two other Al-Jazeera English journalists to three years in prison for terrorism-related crimes on Saturday. "I just hope the Canadian government gets Mohamed out from here."


Fahmy is back in jail for the second time in this case, which dates back to December 2013 when he and his two colleagues — Egyptian Baher Mohamed and Australian Peter Greste — were arrested for their coverage of ousted elected president Mohammed Morsi. Greste was sentenced in absentia because he was sent back to Australia in February under an Egyptian law that allows foreign citizens found guilty of a criminal offences to be deported to their home country.

Related: Al Jazeera Journalists Sentenced to Prison in 'Dark Day' for Press Freedom in Egypt

Saturday's unexpected verdict was decried by rights groups around the world as an affront to democratic process and freedom of the press. "Today's verdict must of be overturned immediately," Philip Luther, Amnesty International's director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement. "The fact that two of these journalists are now facing time in jail following two grossly unfair trials makes a mockery of justice in Egypt."

Fahmy held dual citizenship in Egypt and Canada, but renounced his Egyptian citizenship this year hoping the government would deport him like they did Greste.

While Canadian Prime Minister released a statement on Saturday calling for Fahmy's "immediate return" to Canada, Omara isn't satisfied the government is doing enough.

"This is an opportunity for Mr. Harper to prove to us that he's not accepting his Canadian citizens to be in prisons unjustly," she said.

Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs wouldn't say specifically what it was doing about Fahmy's case, but told the Canadian Press that Canadian officials are discussing Fahmy's case "at the highest level" with their Egyptian counterparts.