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Three convictions, two different responses from Canadian and U.S. Governments

Egyptian-Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy (CP/Handout)

Egyptian-Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy (CP/Handout)

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Today, three al Jazeera  journalists were convicted in Egypt of conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood. Among them is Canadian Mohamed Fahmy who was sentenced to seven years in prison. His family has accused the Canadian government of not doing enough to free Mr. Fahmy. His brother Sherif Fahmy speaks with As It Happens guest host Susan Bonner. 

Canada and the U.S. government both released statements today. Below, we've compared the language used by both countries.


Response from the Canadian Government


The Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State (Foreign Affairs and Consular):


"Canada is very disappointed with the verdict in the case of Mohamed Fahmy and is concerned that the judicial process that led to his verdict is inconsistent with Egypt's democratic aspirations. A fair and transparent legal system is a critical pillar of a future stable and democratic Egypt.

"Canada calls on the Egyptian government to protect the rights of all individuals, including journalists, in keeping with the spirit of Egypt's new constitution and the desire of all Egyptians to build a fully democratic country.

"Senior Canadian officials, including Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and myself, have raised and will continue to raise Mr. Fahmy's case with senior Egyptian authorities. We will continue to provide consular assistance to Mr. Fahmy, including engaging local Egyptian authorities to ensure his medical needs are being met."


Response from the U.S. Government


Press Statement from John Kerry, Secretary of State:

"Today's conviction and chilling, draconian sentences by the Cairo Criminal Court of three Al Jazeera journalists and fifteen others in a trial that lacked many fundamental norms of due process, is a deeply disturbing set-back to Egypt's transition. Injustices like these simply cannot stand if Egypt is to move forward in the way that President al-Sisi and Foreign Minister Shoukry told me just yesterday that they aspire to see their country advance.

"As I shared with President al-Sisi during my visit to Cairo, the long term success of Egypt and its people depends on the protection of universal human rights, and a real commitment to embracing the aspirations of the Egyptians for a responsive government. Egyptian society is stronger and sustainable when all of its citizens have a say and a stake in its success. Today's verdicts fly in the face of the essential role of civil society, a free press, and the real rule of law. I spoke with Foreign Minister Shoukry again today to make very clear our deep concerns about these convictions and sentences.

"Yesterday, President al-Sisi and I frankly discussed these issues and his objectives at the start of his term as President. I call on him to make clear, publicly, his government's intention to observe Egypt's commitment to the essential role of civil society, a free press, and the rule of law. The Egyptian government should review all of the political sentences and verdicts pronounced during the last few years and consider all available remedies, including pardons."




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