Jailed Egyptian-Canadian's spirits 'lifted' after learning of family's meeting with Baird
Published Saturday, April 19, 2014 12:33PM EDT
An Egyptian-Canadian journalist currently detained in a Cairo prison was "encouraged" to learn from his family that Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is closely following his case and calling for his release.
Mohamed Fahmy, a journalist working with Al-Jazeera English, was arrested in Egypt along with two of his colleagues on Dec. 29, 2013. The three are accused of providing a platform for the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been declared a terrorist group by Egyptian authorities.
On Saturday, Fahmy's family visited him in prison to update him on the details of a meeting they had with Baird a day earlier.
The imprisoned journalist was immediately heartened to hear that the Canadian government was continuing to work on his case, his brother said.
"We just returned now from a prison visit with Mohamed," Adel Fahmy, the journalist's brother, told CTV News Channel on Saturday. ""He's very encouraged by this visit (with Baird); it lifted his spirits, definitely."
Baird met with Fahmy's family on Friday to discuss the case and the Canadian government's response.
During the meeting, Baird told the family that he'd spoken with his Egyptian counterpart several times about the imprisoned Canadian. Baird also assured the family that efforts to secure Fahmy's release will continue.
Adel Fahmy said that the meeting with Baird was an "encouraging step."
"We are very appreciative of Mr. John Baird meeting with us yesterday," Adel Fahmy said, adding that the family wanted to show Egyptian authorities that the Canadian government was throwing their support behind his detained brother.
"That's all we wanted to achieve out of this, and Mr. Baird has assured us that he's following the case very closely.
"He promised us that he would keep the efforts going and would ensure a fair and expeditious trial."
Egyptian authorities accused Al-Jazeera, which is based out of Qatar, of being biased in favour of ousted president Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. The broadcaster and the imprisoned journalists fiercely reject this claim.
Their trial is set to resume next week. It is believed that their case is the first time journalists have been charged in Egypt with terrorism-related offences.
Meanwhile, Adel Fahmy says his brother is still suffering from a fractured arm, an injury that occurred before his arrest.
"He has to get proper treatment because the injury is very substantial," Adel Fahmy said, noting that hopefully his brother can get medical help when he's exonerated.
Fahmy's family moved to Canada in 1991, with the journalist living in both Montreal and Vancouver for a number of years before moving abroad for work.
With files from The Canadian Press