The former Canadian Ambassador to Egypt says it is going to take some time before a Canadian journalist imprisoned in Egypt might be released.
“I was expecting exactly what the judge decided.”
Ferry de Kerckhove, who served in Egypt from 2008 to 2011, says there was no chance Mohamed Fahmy was going to be freed by an Egyptian judge.
“I regret very much that Mrs. Amal Clooney and the lawyers and all of that thought otherwise because I think they were giving undue hope to the family and particularily Mohamed Fahmy’s wife.”
de Kerckhove says this is not the time for the Canadian government to be loud and aggressive in pushing for Fahmy’s release.
“The option of megaphone diplomacy are going to run exactly counter to the objective being sought.”
de Kerckhove says the Canadian government must engage in quiet diplomacy to negotiate a pardon and avoid stunts of the past.
“Where John Baird left Ottawa for Egypt saying I am bringing back Mohamed Fahmy, which was absolutely totally asinine.”
de Kerckhove says he thinks Fahmy could be released.
“I think it is going to take quite some time if this idea of a pardon is negotiated it is going to take several months. I am trying to be nice so I don’t hurt the feelings of anyone. I would hope within the next three or four months it happens but I have absolutely no assurances negotiations that I have mentioned will actually take place and if so it will be successful.”
He says Egyptian President Abdel El-Sisi isn’t bothered by the Fahmy situation as he has already trampled on everyone’s rights to fend off the Arab spring.
“For Sisi it is of very limited importance. He doesn’t wake up thinking about what is going to happen with Mohamed Fahmy considerign he already has trampled on every potential civil and personal libery in Egypt now. If you are a journalist and you don’t say something that is according to the government’s motto you can be fined for 83-thousand-dollars.”
de Kerckhove served in a variety of diplomatic posts in his career including being Canada’s ambassador to Egypt from 2008 to 2011.