Mohamed Fahmy: 'I really don't know what's going to happen'

Journalist voices frustration as retrial postponed to next month

Ahmed Ramadan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Ahmed Ramadan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

CAIRO — A Canadian journalist who had been imprisoned for more than a year in Egypt expressed frustration Monday as his retrial on widely-denounced terror-related charges was postponed to next month.

After a brief hearing in a Cairo court, Mohamed Fahmy and his Egyptian colleague had their case put over to March 8.
Outside court, Fahmy called his retrial “a circus.”

“I really don’t know what’s going to happen,” Fahmy told reporters. “It’s become really costly for me on every level, emotionally, financially — my whole family is stressed.”

Fahmy, who was released on bail earlier this month, said his day-to-day circumstances have improved, but he still longs to have his name cleared.

“I enjoyed my first couple of days of freedom, but it’s still limited freedom,” he said. “I’m still stressed. Last night I didn’t sleep much because I’m always thinking about what’s going to happen, is this going to end soon.”

Fahmy and two colleagues — Australian Peter Greste and Egyptian Baher Mohamed — were working for satellite news broadcaster Al Jazeera English when they were arrested in December 2013.

They were accused of being part of a terrorist group and airing falsified footage intended to damage Egyptian national security.

They were convicted last summer after a trial that was heavily criticized by human rights organizations. Fahmy and Greste were sentenced to seven years in prison and Mohamed received ten.

A successful appeal in early January resulted in a retrial being ordered, though Fahmy hoped diplomatic efforts would set him free before he had to face a judge again.

Greste then suddenly left the country under a new law that allows foreigners convicted of crimes to be deported.

Fahmy hoped to follow shortly after, giving up his dual Egyptian citizenship for what he thought was a condition to be deported, but his retrial then got underway.

Leaving the country under Egypt’s deportation law, however, remains his biggest hope.

He has continued to call on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to push his case directly with Egypt’s president.

Fahmy moved to Canada with his family in 1991, living in Montreal and Vancouver for years before eventually moving abroad for work, which included covering stories for the New York Times and CNN.

He took over as the bureau chief for Al Jazeera’s English-language channel in Cairo in September 2013.

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