Thursday, April 2, 2015
CJFE is deeply troubled by the Canadian government’s refusal to issue journalist Mohamed Fahmy a passport, a move which is crippling to his freedom of movement and which poses a genuine security threat to him. Citizenship and Immigration Canada stated in a letter to Fahmy that he cannot be issued a new passport until “the court signals definitively that one is required, that [his] existing passport is, in fact, missing and...the court-imposed travel restrictions against [him] are lifted.” Considering that the judge in Fahmy’s case has repeatedly urged the Canadian Embassy to issue a new passport, and Fahmy filed a police report last week to confirm that the passport is missing, the government’s stubborn refusal to issue the document is both puzzling and disturbing. Without a passport, Fahmy is unable to manage his finances, rent accommodation or transportation, issue power of attorney for his lawyer, travel within Egypt or marry his fiancée, Marwa, which he has been attempting to do for months. The absence of a passport not only restricts Fahmy’s ability to live any semblance of a normal life, but also poses a threat to his personal security and safety. The current climate of fear and anxiety regarding terror attacks and instability in Egypt has led to an increase in the frequency with which individuals are stopped at police checkpoints and required to present official identification. Without a passport, Fahmy is subject to arrest and detention for lacking “officially recognized” identification if he is stopped at a checkpoint or encounters a security officer while walking through Cairo. CJFE strongly urges Citizenship and Immigration Canada to issue Mohamed Fahmy the Canadian passport he is entitled to as a citizen of this country. Numerous levels of the Egyptian justice system and government have given the Canadian government the go-ahead to issue a new passport, despite the travel ban. Fahmy is very clearly not a terrorist, nor does he pose a flight risk—he is a man who continues to be embroiled in an excruciating legal limbo and is attempting to live as normal a life as possible while doing so.
This letter of concern was sent to The Honourable Chris Alexander, Canada's Citizenship and Immigration Minister. Cc: The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P., Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs The Honourable Lynne Yelich, P.C., M.P., Minister of State (Foreign Affairs and Consular Services)