Fahmy's conviction worries Canadian, whose husband is due in Egyptian court
Christina Commisso, CTVNews.ca
Published Tuesday, June 24, 2014 8:42AM EDT
The conviction and seven-year prison sentence of Canadian-Egyptian journalist Mohamed Fahmy is worrying the wife of another Canadian whose husband has been languishing behind bars in Egypt for nearly a year.
Khaled Al-Qazzaz is scheduled to appear in a Cairo court on Tuesday.
His wife Sarah Attia, a Canadian, said she was optimistic her husband would be released until she learned of the verdicts against Fahmy and his Al Jazeera colleagues Peter Greste of Australia and Egyptian Baher Mohamed.
“I was so hopeful until yesterday morning," Attia told CTV's Canada AM on Tuesday.
Al-Qazzaz, a Canadian permanent resident, served as secretary on Foreign Relations with the Freedom and Justice Party, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The 34-year-old was arrested on July 3, 2013, alongside other members of ousted Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi's government, and has since been held in Cairo’s notorious Tora prison.
Attia said Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has raised the cases of her husband, as well as Mohamed Fahmy, with his Egyptian counterparts. But she wants the Canadian government to take more forceful action.
"The fact that Mohamed Fahmy was sentenced yesterday, the fact that my husband still remains in jail without charge, means that more can be done," she said.
Fahmy and his colleagues were arrested in December 2013, and accused of providing a platform for the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood -- which Egypt's new government has branded a terrorist organization. On Monday, the three Al Jazeera journalists were found guilty of terrorism-related charges, despite widespread international allegations that the prosecution failed to produce any credible evidence of wrongdoing.
Ottawa has been criticized for its relative silence over the journalists' case.
While the U.S. and Australian governments have demanded the release of the three men, Ottawa said it was "disappointed" in the ruling and would raise the case with Egyptian authorities.
Attia said she was "disappointed" too, with the Canadian and international response.
"Seven years in Cairo prison for doing absolutely nothing. For just being a journalist and reporting on what was going on," she said. "The international community should take a much stronger stance against the human rights violations that are going on in Egypt."