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Open Letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Mohamed Fahmy's case

    January 16, 2015

    The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
    Prime Minister of Canada
    80 Wellington Street
    Ottawa, Ontario
    K1A 0A2

    Dear Prime Minister,

    We are writing this Open Letter to urge that you intervene in the case of Canadian citizen Mohamed Fahmy, who has been imprisoned for over one year in Egypt, with a direct request to the Egyptian government that he be released immediately and unconditionally and allowed to return to Canada.  We appreciate Minister Baird’s efforts to resolve the case during his visit to Cairo this week.  However, the fact that Mr. Fahmy remains imprisoned, with no clear commitment from Egyptian authorities to release him, points to the necessity of you now becoming involved.  We note that Mr. Fahmy himself made that request of you yesterday; and we very much agree with him that action from you personally is now urgently required.

    Amnesty International has stated that Mohamed Fahmy, and the two other Al-Jazeera journalists imprisoned and sentenced alongside him, Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed, are prisoners of conscience.  Across Canada and around the world, hundreds of thousands of concerned individuals have signed petitions and sent letters calling for their release.  We have written several times to Ministers Baird and Yelich about the case, pressing for Canadian action in the face of health concerns Mr. Fahmy has faced and to work actively for his release.

    Prime Minister, as you will be aware your Australian counterpart Tony Abbott has raised the case of Peter Greste, an Australian citizen, in meetings with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.  President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron have called for the release of the three journalists, despite the fact that none of them are US or UK citizens. We urge you to do the same.  We are convinced that your views and your request will carry considerable influence with Egyptian authorities, and with President el-Sisi personally. 

    Canadian officials at all levels, in Cairo and in Ottawa, have endeavoured to secure Mr. Fahmy’s release.  After more than one year of unjust imprisonment and mounting concerns about Mr. Fahmy’s health and the conditions of his detention, during which time Canada’s efforts have not yet led to his release, it is time for the case to be taken up at the highest levels of government.  The timing for an intervention from you is opportune, as applications by Mr. Fahmy and Mr. Greste to be deported from Egypt are pending and offer an avenue for the cases to be resolved under Egyptian law.

    Thank you for your attention to our request Prime Minister.  We look forward to hearing that you have intervened and made a clear and direct request to President al-Sisi for Mr. Fahmy, along with Mr. Greste and Mr. Mohamed, to be freed.  We would welcome an opportunity to meet with you or your officials to discuss this further.

    Alex Neve                                                   Béatrice Vaugrante
    Secretary General                                      Directrice Générale
    Amnesty International Canada                    Amnistie internationale Canada francophone