Prime Minister Harper - Keep working to free Fahmy: CAJ

OTTAWA, June 25, 2014 /CNW/ - The Canadian Association of Journalists condemns the conviction of Mohamed Fahmy, a Canadian journalist who served as Al Jazeera's acting bureau chief in Cairo, to seven years in prison for terrorism-related crimes.

Fahmy's conviction came after a trial bereft of damning, or even relevant, evidence. We call on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to continue efforts matching the chorus of international demands for Fahmy's release.

"The allegations against Fahmy and his colleagues were ridiculous from the outset. The journalists were simply doing their jobs, reporting crucial stories during a turbulent period in Egypt's history," said CAJ President Hugo Rodrigues. "Fahmy's sentence is further proof that the current Egyptian regime is not interested in championing the rights of journalists."

The CAJ urges Harper to continue the work being done to lobby Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and insist on presidential pardons for Fahmy and his colleagues, who were detained for 178 days before their conviction. While federal ministers have confirmed the government is involved in lobbying for Fahmy's release, a show of support from the prime minister would clearly indicate the government's resolve to see him released.

"Fahmy's brother has urged Harper to pick up the phone and call el-Sisi," said Rodrigues. "We will send our own letter to the Egyptian embassy in Canada and to the Prime Minister's Office asking for the same action."

The CAJ is Canada's largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing over 600 members across the country. The CAJ's primary roles are to provide high-quality professional development for its members and public-interest advocacy.

www.caj.ca | www.facebook.com/CdnAssocJournalists | www.twitter.com/CAJ

PDF available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/media/2014/06/25/20140625_C3810_PDF_EN_3918.pdf

PDF available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/media/2014/06/25/20140625_C3810_PDF_EN_3919.pdf

SOURCE: Canadian Association of Journalists

For further information: Hugo Rodrigues, CAJ president - 613-330-8396 cell, hugo@caj.ca


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