A Canadian journalist who spent a year in an Egyptian prison and who waits for a new trial in Cairo will finally be issued a new Canadian passport.
“I am very very happy at the moment.”
Former Al-Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy says he has shelled out over 100-thousand dollars in legal bills since being arrested on widely denounced terror charges.
“Well the process has been unbelievably stressfull and a nightmare to say the least from the day of the arrests in 2013.”
With a first court process called a sham by Western countries Fahmy says he will be back in court this week.
“You never know with the court systems in Egypt.”
Fahmy says his challenges aren’t over yet.
“The lawyers are telling us that the terrorism charges will be probably be cleared and the fabrication of news will probably be cleared. There are other issues that are troubling for me.”
That said Fahmy says his former employer has left him in the lurch.
“The last hearing I realized for the first time the network I was working for, Al Jazeera English, was operating without transmission and broadcast license. It is a misdemeanor, which either entails a fine or prison time or both. However we have spent a year and three months behind bars and a judge could issue a time served sentence.”
While the Canadian government has dragged its heels on issuing him a passport, after Egyptian police took it when he was arrested in 2013, are they helping him in his court battle?
“I was just speaking with the Canadian Ambassador tonight actually. he has been supportive and he has been there in every hearing and he is going to be there after tomorrow. The Canadian government, our government, has been supportive however at the beginning of all this crisis there was a lot of criticism of the way our government handled it.”
Fahmy says the US government was very vocal even though none of its citizens were charged in his case.
While the Canadian government dragged its heels Citizenship and Immigration Canada has confirmed it will issue Fahmy a new passport
Fahmy says it has been a nightmare but his ordeal has opened his eyes to the plight of journalists.
“I am fighting now for a bigger cause. Now I am very very interested to advocate. I have chosen Vancouver specifically as the city where I am going to reside when I go back to Canada. I have set up this non-profit organization in Vancouver. We are doing events on May 3rd World Press Freedom Day.”
Fahmy won’t be able to attend the World Press Freedom day event at the Vancouver Art Gallery but will address the crowd through an audio or video recording.