Press Statement - Mohamed Fahmy
Today Mohamed Fahmy and his co-defendants were granted bail by an Egyptian criminal court. Khaled Abu-Bakr, my Cairo-based colleague who is a member of the Egyptian Bar and the International Bar Association, represented Fahmy in court.
A few days ago Egypt’s Supreme Court issued its reasons for overturning the original verdict and sentence in the case. This decision recognized that the original trial was unfair, as I have previously explained. The judges noted the catalogue of due process violations that occurred, which revealed a biased and unjust approach by the authorities. The court also considered that Fahmy’s conviction for acts of ‘terrorism’ was nonsensical given that there was not even an allegation of a threat of violence, let alone the use of violence, by Mr Fahmy or his colleagues.
I am encouraged by the Supreme Court’s findings that the trial was unfair, and by today’s ruling granting Mr Fahmy bail. At the same time, there is no guarantee that a retrial will be carried out in compliance with international standards or result in the full acquittal on all charges that Fahmy deserves. It may also take several months to complete.
So this case is not over yet; but it should be. Ten days ago Mohamed Fahmy and his family celebrated the return of Fahmy’s former colleague, Peter Greste, to Australia under the terms of a decree allowing foreign prisoners to be transferred to their home state. Mr Fahmy is eligible for transfer under this same law – and the retrial process that began today does not change that.
Mr Fahmy is a Canadian national who was subjected to the same unfair trial process as Mr Greste. Mr Fahmy was told by high-level Egyptian officials that, as a dual Egyptian-Canadian national, he must give up his Egyptian citizenship to guarantee a transfer. He had no choice but to do so. Then, just days ago, his counsel and the Canadian government were informed that his release was imminent. There is no impediment to his immediate transfer to Canada and Prime Minister Harper should personally intervene to ensure that the promise that was made by the Egyptian government to his government, and to its citizen, is now honoured.
Counsel for Mohamed Fahmy