Wednesday, April 16, 2014

NCCM urges Foreign Affairs Minister to intervene for Canadian journalist detained in Egypt

-For Immediate Release-

(Ottawa - April 16, 2014) The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), a prominent Muslim civil liberties & advocacy organization, is again urging the Foreign Affairs Minister to aggressively intervene on behalf of a Canadian journalist detained in Egypt for more than 100 days.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird announced that he will travel to Egypt and Oman from April 17 to 20, 2014. According to Mr. Baird, "this visit will signal Canada's willingness to support Egypt during this important transition."

As the Cairo bureau chief for Al-Jazeera English, Mohamed Fahmy was detained, along with his colleagues, by Egyptian authorities on December 29, 2013. He was arrested on accusations of spreading lies harmful to the state and joining a terrorist organization.

Mr. Fahmy, a veteran journalist who holds dual citizenship from both Canada and Egypt, graduated from the University of Calgary and previously worked for CNN. He was arrested as part of what has been described as a broader attack on journalists.

In an open letter sent to Minister John Baird on January 15, 2014, NCCM Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee wrote:

"In light of the grave breaches to Mr. Fahmy's human rights and the troubling implications of his arrest for the safety of journalists and the freedom of the press, we strongly urge you to (...) call upon Egyptian authorities to abide by their international legal obligations and in particular, demand the immediate release of Mr. Fahmy."

Egypt's regime has been the subject of recent criticism for human rights violations by a broad spectrum of respected civil society organizations and international governments, including many of Canada's key allies.

CONTACT: 

Ihsaan Gardee, Executive Director, 613.254.9704 or 613.853.4111

Amy Awad, Human Rights Coordinator, 613.254.9704

-30-