POLITICS

Amal Clooney, Mohamed Fahmy's Lawyer, Denied Meeting With John Baird

01/07/2015 12:43 EST | Updated 03/09/2015 05:59 EDT

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has turned down a request to meet face-to-face with high-profile human rights lawyer Amal Clooney.

Clooney, along with Canadian lawyer Lorne Waldman, are representing Canadian-Egyptian Al-Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy.

Fahmy and two other journalists have been in a Cairo prison for more than a year, accused of spreading false news and being sympathetic to Egypt's outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

Last Friday, Clooney and Waldman requested a meeting with Baird before his visit to Cairo. The lawyers wanted to discuss the details of Fahmy's potential deportation back to Canada. Fahmy's family said Clooney was ready to fly to Ottawa as soon as a meeting could be arranged.

But that meeting won't happen.

In an email, a spokesman for Baird said the minister will raise the issue with the "highest levels of the Egyptian government."

"To date, Mr. Fahmy's legal team has had an open dialogue with our mission in Cairo, and we believe that this remains the best course of action," spokesman Adam Hodge told CBC News.

The family of Mohamed Fahmy says they have been told by a senior Egyptian government official that Fahmy's deportation back to Canada is in it "final phase."

A new law passed in Egypt last November allows for foreign convicts or suspects to be transferred to their countries to serve their sentence or to be tried.

Waldman told CBC news that "conditions are ripe for [Fahmy's] return." But he added he had hoped the details could have been hammered out with the Baird before the minister's trip to Egypt.

Clooney is the spouse of U.S. actor and activist George Clooney.

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