#FreeAJStaff: Verdict delayed until at least August 2

Thursday, July 30, 2015
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Thursday, July 30, 2015
After almost 19 months of excruciating legal limbo, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed arrived at a Cairo court this morning ready to hear the final verdict in their retrial on terrorism charges. However, when they arrived at the courtroom they were abruptly escorted away and told that the verdict had been postponed; after several hours of confusion regarding the date when the decision would finally be announced, it was reported to be August 2. Judicial officials speaking anonymously speculated it could be pushed back even further since the presiding Judge Hassan Farid is seriously ill. For Fahmy and Mohamed, this was understandably a kind of psychological torture. While they had prepared themselves for numerous outcomes, the postponement of their fate was not among the possibilities that they had considered. Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, Fahmy said, “It’s just mindboggling the way they continue to play with our emotions here; it’s very hard on everyone.” Following the announcement that the decision had been delayed, Minister of State for Consular Affairs Lynne Yelich released a statement that the Canadian government is “deeply concerned over Mr. Fahmy’s current situation and disappointed by the continued delay in his trial,” and asks “that all branches of the Egyptian government work together in a concerted manner to address the situation of Mr. Fahmy.” While the journalists are frustrated by yet another delay in proceedings, there was some good news as Fahmy announced that he and his long-time fiancée Marwa Omara had finally married, saying, “She’s been my hero.” One of the reasons the couple was eager to marry prior to the verdict was to ensure that Omara would have more visitation rights if Fahmy were convicted and remanded to prison. After a year and a half of unjust persecution and legal harassment, it is long past time a final not-guilty verdict was delivered in the case of these journalists. CJFE urges the Egyptian government to bring this spurious case to an end and finally allow these reporters, guilty of nothing more than exercising their right to free expression, to move forward with their lives. We further urge the Egyptian government to release all other unjustly detained prisoners of conscience in the country.
Alexandra Zakreski is CJFE’s International Programs Coordinator.

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