Mohamed Fahmy asks Egyptian authorities to restore his citizenship

'I will continue to fight for it as long as it takes and at any cost'

(Asmaa Waguih/Reuters)

(Asmaa Waguih/Reuters)

A Canadian journalist who was released from prison in Egypt this fall said Monday he has asked authorities in that country to restore the citizenship he renounced in hopes of regaining his freedom.

Mohamed Fahmy said he initially refused to give up his Egyptian citizenship when it was suggested to him as a way of speeding up his release.

But he eventually relented late last year after receiving reassurance that he could reapply for it at a later date, he said.

Even so, it took almost a year — and a presidential pardon — before he was freed.

Fahmy, who now lives in Vancouver, said he is seeking to recover his dual citizenship as a “matter of principle.”

“I kind of feel that it was unnecessary for me to renounce my citizenship to get out of prison,” he said. “I’ve spoken to Egyptian officials and my lawyers have and we don’t have a clear answer on why this happened.”

“So now I would like to claim it back,” he said.

“I will continue to fight for it as long as it takes and at any cost.”

He also said he plans to go back to Egypt one day and report from there, and feels he shouldn’t need a visa to do so.

For now, however, he is working as an adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia and writing a book about his experience.

Fahmy was arrested in 2013 with two Al-Jazeera English colleagues on terror-related charges.

He was sentenced to three years in prison in a retrial this year for airing what a court described as “false news” and coverage biased in favour of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood.

The case was widely condemned. He and his Egyptian co-defendant, Baher Mohammed, were pardoned in September. The other colleague, Australian Peter Greste, was previously released.

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