Mother of Jazeera journalist Fahmy asks Sisi to pardon him

Ahram Online , Sunday 1 Feb 2015

In an open letter published Sunday, the mother of Egyptian-Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy asks President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to release her son

Mohamed Fahmy
Undated photo provided by the family of Fahmy, Mohamed Fahmy, a journalist for the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera English channel, right, poses for a photo with his friend journalist at an unknown location in Libya. (Photo: AP)

The family of Al-Jazeera International Egyptian-Canadian journalist Mohamed Fadel Fahmy published online an open letter written by his mother pleading for her son's release and asking President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to pardon him.

"Dear Mr President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, As a mother and an Egyptian citizen I appeal to you, Mr President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, to pardon my son, the journalist Mohamed Fahmy. He is an innocent man and needs urgent medical treatment for his Hepatitis C and permanent disability in his shoulder. It hurts me to see his health deteriorating while I have little access to him," said Mrs Wafa Abdel Hamid Bassiouni, Fadel's mother. 

The head of Al-Jazeera International in Cairo is suffering major health problems in his shoulder, according to his mother who spoke in her open letter on how she and her family were "loyal to Egypt and protested against the Muslim Brotherhood on 30 June 2013". 

Arrested in December 2013, Mohamed Fahmy and colleagues Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed were sentenced in June 2014 to jail terms ranging from seven to 10 years in a highly controversial trial on charges of spreading false news and aiding the Muslim Brotherhood, a group now outlawed by Egyptian authorities.

In early January a Cairo court accepted an appeal request for the three imprisoned Al-Jazeera journalists to have a retrial. 

Abdel Hamid, the mother of Fahmy, also spoke about how her son was hoping to be released on the anniversary of the January 25 Revolution after knowing that his name was submitted to the presidency by the National Council for Human Rights.

"Mr President, as a journalist my son never strived to tarnish Egypt's image. It’s this Al-Jazeera case that now smears Egypt's reputation abroad," she added. The trial and its verdicts have already caused sustained international outcry. 

Journalist and former MP Mostafa Bakry, who was the first to report the news of the release of Australian Al-Jazeera journalist Peter Greste late Saturday, said on his official Twitter account Sunday afternoon that Fahmy was going to be released and deported as well soon. 

"It is expected that Egyptian journalist with Canadian passport Mohamed Fadel Fahmy , who is convicted in the same case to be released soon but after he is stripped from the Egyptian citizenship," Bakry tweeted.

Several official sources stated in the media that Fahmy could join Greste soon after finishing the procedure of renouncing his Egyptian citizenship. 

Nevertheless, on Mohamed Fahmy's Twitter account, which is updated by his family, the following tweet appeared: "Why should a human being drop his citizenship to be freed from prison for a crime he didn't commit?"

Earlier Sunday, the interior ministry reported that Greste was deported according to a presidential decree and after the ‎approval of the cabinet. The decision is based on a new law issued late 2014 giving the general prosecutor the right to request the ‎transfer of foreign prisoners to their own countries, which the cabinet has to approve.

El-Sisi has said on a number of ‎occasions that he wished that the imprisoned Al-Jazeera journalists had not been ‎put on trial. He said that the best way to deal with violations committed by ‎foreign journalists was to deport them. However, he made it clear that he ‎could not interfere in the judicial process, stressing that the country's ‎judiciary was "completely independent.‎"

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