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Al-Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy’s release from Egypt jail ‘imminent’

February 2, 2015

Egyptian-Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy’s release from an Egyptian jail is “imminent,” Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Monday, a day after an Al-Jazeera colleague was freed.

Baird’s spokesman confirmed the statement, which was made to Canada’s public broadcaster CBC, but declined to elaborate, as Canadian diplomats reportedly met their counterparts in Cairo to press the case.

Fahmy and two other Al-Jazeera journalists — Australian Peter Greste and Egyptian Baher Mohamed — were detained in December 2013 for allegedly spreading false information and were accused of aiding the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood.

Their arrests sparked worldwide condemnation.

At trial Greste and Fahmy each got seven years, and Mohamed was jailed for 10. Their supporters say the charges were politically motivated.

Egypt’s top court ordered a retrial in the case.

Greste was freed and deported on Sunday after more than 400 days behind bars in Cairo, under a decree passed by Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi that allows for the transfer of foreigners on trial.

Fahmy’s relatives expect him to also be deported under the decree.

His fiancee, Marwa Omara, told AFP in Cairo: “We are expecting Mohamed to be released in the coming days.”

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