While a lengthy retrial in a Cairo court continues, Egyptian-Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy is still waiting to know his fate.
Fahmy, who returns to court June 29 as lawyers for other defendants wrap up their closing arguments, says he is eager to clear his name.
He is confident that on the basis of the evidence—or lack thereof—against him, he should be acquitted.
But he knows that the trial is influenced by factors other than evidence, so he is nervous about the outcome. He is worried that Al Jazeera journalists will take the fall for violations committed by the network.
Fahmy says he wants his long and painful 18-month ordeal to be over so that he can get on with his life.
He’s faced two separate trials sandwiched around an appeal court ruling overturning his initial seven-year sentence, and spent more than 400 days in prison, including a month in solitary.
Earlier in June, defense lawyers for Mohamed Fahmy and his colleagues presented their closing arguments.
They refuted the claims made by the prosecution in this case, and argued that the initial arrest and the charge of spreading “false news” were unwarranted.
Defense lawyers noted in their arguments that:
- there is no evidence Mohamed Fahmy has links to the Muslim Brotherhood
- licensing or documentation was the responsibility of the employer, not the journalists
- there was no evidence that footage of protests compromised national security
The defense also stated that the Egyptian judiciary had displayed a lack of understanding of journalism in this case. The lawyers noted that journalists, as part of their job, must get all points of view, and are not responsible for what interviewees say.
While in court, Mohamed addressed the judge directly, noting that he had filed a lawsuit against his employer Al Jazeera because of how they had handled his situation in Egypt.
As well, a lawyer for the journalists’ syndicate spoke before the judge, affirming that Mohamed Fahmy is an internationally recognized and award-winning journalist, and arguing that the court’s ruling in this retrial will have an impact for all journalists.
Here in Canada and around the world, supporters of Mohamed Fahmy and his colleagues continue to call for justice.
In the news:
- New York Times op-ed by Mohamed Fahmy (June 2, 2015)
- Toronto Star op-ed by Mohamed Fahmy (June 22, 2015)
- CBC Fifth Estate interview (Feb. 20, 2015)
- CBC Fifth Estate interview with Al-Jazeera (Feb. 20, 2015)