TORONTO, April 9, 2015 /CNW/ - Random House Canada, an imprint of Penguin Random House Canada, has acquired world rights to the much anticipated book by the internationally renowned, award-winning journalist, Mohamed Fahmy, presently on trial in Egypt. This major new book will give readers the remarkable inside story, told from a unique perspective, of the players and aims behind the increasingly inflammatory tensions in North Africa and the Middle East. THE MARRIOT CELL will also feature an Introduction by international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney. Rights were acquired by Louise Dennys, Executive Publisher and Executive Vice-President of Random House of Canada, from Mr. Fahmy's legal representatives Caroline + Gislason Lawyers LLP.
Louise Dennys said: "Mr. Fahmy's appalling position has nevertheless given him stunning insight into what's happening now and is about to happen in the region. His unusual access to many leading jihadists, combined with his authoritative understanding of the multi-national complexities and worldwide consequences of the increasing violence, provides a rare window onto the players and their personal and global ambitions, Western governments included. This important book reads like a thriller; and its shrewd close-quarters perspective makes it essential reading."
THE MARRIOT CELL centres around the dramatic case that has become an international cause celebre, covered by virtually every major Western newspaper: the arrest of the Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fahmy (Al Jazeera English Bureau Chief, formerly CNN correspondent) and two fellow journalists in a nightime raid on the Marriott Hotel, Cairo, in 2013. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the seven-year sentence imposed on Fahmy as "chilling and draconian"; British Prime Minister David Cameron as "completely appalling."
It plunged the respected trio into the middle of Egypt's political crisis and the struggle for power between Egypt's military-backed government, the Brotherhood and its supporters. Mr. Fahmy's subsequent incarceration, including in the maximum security Scorpion Prison holding many of North Africa and the Middle East's most dangerous terrorists, gave him unexpected access to key influential figures behind the current violence–including the Muslim Brotherhood's supreme guide Dr Mohamed Badie (recently sentenced to death), brother of Al Qaeda leader Ayman Al Zawahiri, veteran Jihadists who have fought the Americans in Afghanistan, destroyed the Buddah statues of Bamiyan and witnessed the training of the 9/11 attackers, as well as ISIS fighters who had returned from Syria to topple the Egyptian government. As a journalist, Mr. Fahmy took advantage of his encounters to gain insight into their goals, to glean shocking details of torture inside military camps, and to expose the political score-settling that led him and his colleagues to prison, including the feud between Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain on the one hand, and Qatar and its allies, including Turkey, on the other. Thrown into the toxic mix is the complex power-brokering of Western governments.
Today, Mr. Fahmy remains a pawn in a geopolitical charade: while Australia secured the freedom of his colleague Peter Greste, Canada's Federal government, while stating on several occasions that they do not recognize the validity of the charges, has failed to obtain his release. News organizations around the world campaigning on their behalf point to the growing dangers of the "war on terror" becoming an excuse by governments to limit freedom of the press in what is seen as a partial "war on journalists". Renowned for his insightful, courageous journalism, Mr. Fahmy intends to bring his multi-layered narrative to a wide general readership.
Mohamed Fahmy is an award-winning Egyptian-Canadian journalist. He has reported extensively on the Middle East and North Africa. In 2003, he covered the Iraq War for the Los Angeles Times. In 2007 he served as a delegate in Lebanon for the International Committee of the Red Cross protecting the rights of political prisoners, the missing and refugees. In 2011, he and his CNN associates were honoured with a Peabody award for the network's coverage of the Arab Spring. In 2012, he won The Tom Renner Investigative Reporting Award for producing the CNN Freedom Project documentary series "Death in the Desert," which exposed the trafficking of Sub-Sahara Africans to Israel through Sinai-Egypt. He co-authored Egyptian Freedom Story, a photo documentary of the 2011 January 25th revolution. In September 2013, he became the Egypt bureau chief for Al Jazeera English news channel. He was arrested that December with two of his Al Jazeera English colleagues, accused of conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood designated as a terrorist organization and fabricating news damaging to Egypt. On June 23, 2014, they were sentenced to seven-ten years in a maximum-security prison. On February 13, 2015, Mr. Fahmy was released on bail and faces retrial before the Cairo Criminal Court.
In 2014, he received the Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom Award and was honoured on World Press Freedom Day by the Canadian Commission of UNESCO. In 2015, he and his two colleagues received the Royal Television Journalism Judges' Award. In March, 2015, he founded the Fahmy Foundation for a Free Press --a non-profit organization based in Vancouver -- dedicated to providing financial assistance and advocating on behalf of imprisoned journalists and photographers around the world.
Amal Clooney, the British-Lebanese international human rights lawyer and a key member of Mr.Fahmy's international legal team, will provide an Introduction.
THE MARRIOT CELL is scheduled for delivery in August and publication in Fall 2015.
Maclean's: Canadian government only impediment to Fahmy getting passport in Cairo
New York Times: Egypt Convicts 3 Journalists
The Guardian: Amal Clooney calls on Egypt to release Mohamed Fahmy
The Huffington Post: Mohamed Fahmy Should Be Released Not Retried in Egypt
The Los Angeles Times: Cairo judge orders 2 Al Jazeera journalists freed on bail
BBC: Egypt trial: Journalists protest over al-Jazeera trio
CNN: journalists free on bail after more than 400 days behind bars
Toronto Star: Jailed Canadian journalist wins press freedom prize
PBS: Egyptian court grants bail to Al Jazeera journalists
The Daliy Mail: journalists face new trial this week after spending 411 days in prison
France 24: Fahmy's release from Egypt jail 'imminent'
SOURCE Penguin Random House Canada Limited
For further information: Scott Sellers at (416) 957 1564; or Louise Dennys at (416) 957 1555