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Canada says journalist Fahmy retrial ‘unacceptable’

February 12, 2015

Canada welcomed Thursday Egypt’s release on bail of Al-Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy, but decried as “unacceptable” putting him through a retrial.

“While we welcome Mohamed Fahmy’s release on bail, we continue to call for his immediate and full release,” Canadian Consular Affairs Minister Lynne Yelich said.

She added that “the prospect of Mr Fahmy standing retrial is unacceptable” and that he should be returned to Canada.

Fahmy, who is Canadian and whose family hoped he would be deported, must pay 250,000 Egyptian pounds ($33,000) bail and appear in court again on February 23.

He and his colleagues, Egyptian Baher Mohamed and Australian Peter Greste, were accused of supporting the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood and originally jailed for between seven and 10 years each.

An appeals court ordered a retrial of the three journalists, who have already spent more than a year in jail.

Earlier this month, Greste was returned to Australia under a law passed last year by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi allowing foreigners to be deported to their home countries to stand trial or serve out their sentences.

Fahmy renounced his Egyptian citizenship to benefit from the law.

Yelich said Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has “personally raised” his case with President Sisi, while Canadian officials have pressed Egyptian officials 19 times in the last two weeks.

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