Jailed Al Jazeera reporter's donation for Egypt, not pardon

Marina Barsoum , Thursday 26 Jun 2014

Brother of convicted journalist Mohamed Fahmy says that a presidential pardon should come only because he's 'innocent'

Mohamed Fahmy
Mohammed Fahmy, Canadian-Egyptian acting bureau chief of Al-Jazeera, appears in a defendant's cage along with several other defendants (Photo: AP)

A financial donation from convicted Al Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy is meant to help Egypt's troubled economy and not seek a presidential pardon, says Fahmy's brother Sherif.

On Wednesday, Reuters' affiliated Aswat Masriya website reported that Fahmy's LE15,000 donation – coming just a day after he was sentenced to seven years in jail for airing false news in Egypt – was made in hopes that President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi would pardon him.

However, in a telephone call with Ahram Online, Sherif said that he had met with his brother two days after the verdict and was told that "he feels responsibility for Egypt's declining economy and that he decided to donate this amount to help the economic crisis."

"If Egypt's president decides to pardon my brother, that should be because he is convinced that my brother is innocent and not because of the donation he made," Sherif said.

He added that the donation had been put in a government-designated bank account on Thursday on behalf of the jailed journalist.

On Tuesday, El-Sisi announced that he would donate half of his LE42,000 monthly salary and half of his wealth to support the Egyptian economy, a move that was soon echoed by other public figures.

Egyptian media tycoon Mohamed El-Amin said he would donate half of his wealth and a sum equal to a half month's salary from all his employees – likely a considerable amount as he owns three of Egypt's most popular satellite channels.

Earlier this week, Fahmy along with Australian Peter Greste and Al Jazeera producer Baher Mohamed was sentenced to seven years in prison on charges of spreading false news, falsely portraying Egypt as being in a state of civil war, as well as aiding or joining the now outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

Mohamed received an extra jail term to bring his total to 10 years.

Eleven co-defendants, tried in absentia on similar charges, received 10-year terms each, while two others were acquitted.

The verdict received condemnation by many western countries, including the UK, the US and Australia.

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