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Canada ‘hopeful’ for journalist’s release in Egypt

February 1, 2015

Canada said Sunday it remained “very hopeful” that a Canadian-Egyptian Al-Jazeera reporter jailed by Egypt would be released soon, following the freeing of his Australian colleague.

Egypt deported fellow Al-Jazeera reporter Peter Greste to his native Australia on Sunday after holding him for more than 400 days.

“We welcome these positive developments,” Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird’s office said in a statement. “We remain very hopeful that Mr Fahmy’s case will be resolved shortly.”

Baird’s office said the Canadian government was working closely with Egypt to secure the freedom of Mohamed Fahmy, who was detained along with Greste and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed in December 2013.

The trio was convicted of aiding the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood and defaming Egypt, and sentenced to between seven and 10 years in prison, in a move that elicited global condemnation.

Baird visited Egypt in mid-January seeking Fahmy’s release.

Baird and Lynne Yelich, minister of state for consular affairs, “have raised concerns regarding Mr Fahmy’s case with their counterparts and will continue to do so.”

“Canadian officials continue to work closely with the government of Egypt in this regard and they are providing consular assistance to Mr Fahmy to ensure his wellbeing,” the statement said.

Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.