Toronto, ON —Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) celebrates the pardon and release of Canadian-Egyptian journalist Mohamed Fahmy and his Egyptian colleague Baher Mohamed on Wednesday, September 23. Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi pardoned 100 prisoners, including Fahmy and Mohamed, coinciding with the Islamic holiday Eid al-Adha.
Their long-overdue freedom follows months of campaigning from media and press freedom organizations, which began when Fahmy, Mohamed and their Australian colleague Peter Greste were first arrested on fabricated terrorism charges on December 29, 2013.
It is unclear how long it will be before Fahmy returns to Canada as he currently remains on a no-fly list. CJFE continues to urge the Canadian and Egyptian governments to take action to hasten Fahmy’s departure from Egypt. After nearly two years in excruciating legal limbo, he must be allowed to return home and resume his life as soon as possible.
While CJFE celebrates the 100 pardons granted, we cannot forget the other journalists who have been unjustly convicted or continue to be unjustly detained in the country, many without charge. Greste, who was tried in absentia, remains unjustly convicted of all the charges against him, something that holds ominous implications for his future freedom of movement and work as a foreign correspondent.
“The release of Mohamed Fahmy is a cause for celebration but it is marred by the ongoing detention of dozens of other journalists in Egypt’s prisons,” says CJFE Executive Director Tom Henheffer. “It is long past time for President el-Sisi to release all journalists and prisoners of conscience detained for exercising their right to free expression, and to undertake substantial reforms to guarantee human rights in the country.”
The pardons granted on Eid al-Adha come one month after Egypt enacted a new anti-terrorism law that has disturbing implications for the future of press freedom in the country, including 12 offenses punishable by death that relate to deviating from the officially sanctioned government narrative in terrorism cases. CJFE continues to call on President el-Sisi to repeal or substantially amend this law and improve conditions for press freedom in Egypt.
For more information about the detention of Mohamed Fahmy, Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed, and the #FreeAJstaff campaign, visit cjfe.org/FreeAJstaff.
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) monitors, defends and reports on free expression and access to information in Canada and abroad. Rooted in the field of journalism, we promote a free media as essential to a fair and open society. CJFE boldly champions the free expression rights of all people, and encourages and supports individuals and groups in the protection of their own and others' free expression rights. cjfe.org
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