NEWS

Amal Clooney wants Stephen Harper to 'pick up phone' to free Mohamed Fahmy

02/26/2015 04:44 EST | Updated 04/28/2015 05:59 EDT
Amal Clooney, lawyer for Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy, expressed frustration today over Canada's "sheepish" effort to free her client from his Cairo nightmare.

The prominent human rights activist and lawyer was referring to a Feb. 12 statement from the office of Minister of State (Foreign Affairs) Lynne Yelich that welcomed Fahmy's release on bail but called his retrial "unacceptable."

"Such sheepish whimpers are woefully inadequate when it comes to enforcing an agreement reached with a sovereign state regarding a citizen’s release from detention," said Clooney in a news release from her law firm Doughty Street Chambers.

She added that now is the time for real advocacy on the part of the Canadian government.

"There is no legal impediment to his immediate transfer to Canada. Yet calls from Canadian society and politicians for Prime Minister Harper to pick up the phone to personally intervene in the case have so far fallen on deaf ears," she wrote.

Former foreign affairs minister John Baird said at the beginning of February that Fahmy's release was imminent. Although Fahmy was freed from prison on bail, he now faces a retrial that resumes on March 8 in Cairo. 

Clooney said the retrial breaks an agreement between Egypt and Canada to have Fahmy deported once he gave up his Egyptian citizenship.

Fahmy was arrested and jailed in Cairo on Dec. 29, 2013, along with two other Al-Jazeera English colleagues. He was accused of broadcasting "false news" and supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, which had been declared a terrorist group. He spent 411 days in jail.

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