By Adel Fahmy
My brother, Mohamed is an extremely objective journalist who’s passionate towards his profession and has taken pride in his work throughout his career. He has worked with reputable names in the industry such as CNN, BBC, New York Times, LA Times, Al Hurra TV, Dubai TV, and Al Jazeera English of course. He also worked for 3 years with the Red Cross. He has authored 2 books – Baghdad Bound (covering the Iraq War) and The Egyptian Freedom Story (about the January 25 revolution in 2011). He has won several awards, including the Peabody Award and the Tom Renner Investigative Journalism Award.
When we received the news of Mohamed’s arrest on the evening of December 29, it was traumatic to all of us. We couldn’t believe it, and we thought it might be only a minor problem that will be resolved soon. We never expected it to escalate and reach the nonsense it has become … “The Marriott Cell”. It has become a nightmare that we can’t wake up from.
It’s been 2 months now that he has been unjustly detained. The 2 months felt like 2 years for us. Our lives have become paralyzed, and our full focus is on this crisis. We simply cannot think about anything other than Mohamed, and we are barely able to eat or sleep because we keep thinking, “How can we eat when he’s eating terrible food, and how can we sleep when he’s not sleeping properly, and how can we enjoy anything whatsoever when he’s in these horrible conditions?” My mother breaks down in tears on a daily basis. I’m even struggling to maintain my work because being concerned with this crisis and attentive to it is a full time job.
Mohamed has always been caring and supportive to the whole family and is a very warm and upbeat person. He has always been a great source of positive energy to everyone around him. Anyone who knows him can attest to that. As his brother, I can certainly say, growing up, he always looked out for me and our younger brother, Sherif.
He was looking forward to getting married to his fiancée in April.
He has suffered the harshest conditions of the maximum security solitary confinement prison Al Aqrab ("Scorpion”) for over a month and was then moved to his current prison Al Mulhaq ("Annex”). They have unfairly charged him as belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood and finds himself grouped with high profile Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi Jihadist members in prison.
The Humerus bone in his right shoulder remains badly fractured according to an X-ray done in the prison clinic a week ago. It’s not healing due to not receiving proper medical treatment and due to constant aggravation and lack of proper rest.
After a long period of prosecutor hearings where Mohamed and the lawyer have contested the absurd accusations such as being a member of a terrorist group and serving their interests by manipulating and tampering with news material, we were shocked to find all the great ground we covered being nullified and the case getting transferred to court with reassertion of the ridiculous allegations. Not only that, but the case has somehow now come to include 17 other individuals whom Mohamed and his colleagues know nothing about. Some of them are actual members of the Muslim Brotherhood, journalists from other agencies, and employees of the Jazeera Mubasher Misr channel.
The case is now approaching its second court session on March 5th. The stress and tension are rising by the day, especially as we become more and more aware that it’s being blown out of proportion and magnified for some reason we don’t know. How it will play out is so unclear …
On each visit to the prison, Mohamed questions nervously “Why these charges?? Why am I charged as being a terrorist??!!”
He makes sure to tell us on each visit, please send out much gratitude and appreciation to all those supporting him and his colleagues from the journalism and media community and much thanks for the campaigning taking place. It is of paramount importance and impact.
The Canadian Embassy here (including the Ambassador, Mr. David Drake) have not spared any effort and are working to their fullest capacity. We just urge the government in Ottawa to kindly do the same.
He also always says, "Tell everyone we remain free behind bars because we are journalists – not terrorists!"