Canadian sentenced to death in Egypt over anti-Islam film
Nader Fawzy, left, speaks to media alongside Scarborough-Agincourt MP Jim Karygiannis outside No. 42 Division, Toronto Police Services, in Toronto after asking the police for protection on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012. (Aaron Vincent Elkaim / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Wednesday, November 28, 2012 3:42PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, November 28, 2012 8:52PM EST
An Egyptian court has sentenced a Canadian man to death in absentia over an anti-Islam movie that prompted violent riots across the Muslim world this fall.
Nader Fawzy, a Toronto resident, told The Canadian Press he’s afraid of being kidnapped and taken to his native country for the execution.
The 53-year-old Coptic Christian denies any involvement in the “Innocence of Muslims,” an amateur film that mocked the Prophet Muhammad and prompted outrage in Egypt and other countries.
"Who will give me guarantees that the Egyptian government will not try to kidnap me, to take me to Egypt?" Fawzy said.
Rick Roth, a spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Ottawa has been “working with Egyptian authorities on this issue, and will continue to do so.”
He did not elaborate.
Fawzy was one of seven Egyptian Coptic Christians sentenced to death in a Cairo court Wednesday. They were all found guilty of harming national unity, insulting and publicly attacking Islam and spreading false information, according to the official Egyptian news agency.
The producer of the “Innocence of Muslims,” 55-year-old Egyptian-American Mark Basseley Youssef, and Florida pastor Terry Jones, who infamously burned copies of the Qur’an two years ago, were also sentenced to death.
Fawzy said he’s being persecuted by Egypt’s Islamic government because of his involvement with an international Coptic-rights organization.
He said he first caught the attention of Egyptian authorities when he published a book on anti-Coptic sentiments in the country and filed a lawsuit over riots in Cairo that left 23 Copts dead.
Fawzy said he lost his Egyptian citizenship in 1992, when he became a Swedish citizen. He later moved to Canada.
"Now, as a Canadian, I'm convicted for a crime I didn't do,” he said, adding that he’s now afraid to travel anywhere out of fear of being detained and extradited to Egypt.
Fawzy said he’s planning to file a lawsuit against the Egyptian government for what he calls wrongful prosecution.
With files from The Canadian Press