The family of a Canadian-Egyptian Al-Jazeera journalist imprisoned in Egypt says his deportation back to Canada could be imminent.
- Mohamed Fahmy, Canadian imprisoned in Egypt, seeks deportation
- Mohamed Fahmy, other Al-Jazeera journalists to get retrial
- Fiancée of imprisoned Egyptian-Canadian journalist speaks out
Mohamed Fahmy's brother, Adel Fahmy, told CBC News that a senior Egyptian government official told him that Mohamed's deportation is in its "final phase."
Adel Fahmy said deportation documents have been signed and lawyers and government officials are figuring out what will happen when Mohamed Fahmy arrives in Canada.
"Will he be put on trial right away? Is he going to be released? The deportation decree states that the convicted prisoner is to continue his sentence or be put on trial upon arriving to his country," Adel Fahmy said.
Mohamed Fahmy was arrested along with two fellow Al-Jazeera journalists, Australian Peter Greste and Egyptian Baher Mohamed, under suspicion of spreading false news and being sympathetic toward the Muslim Brotherhood.
Last week, a Cairo Court of Cassation ordered a retrial, after a court sentenced Greste and Fahmy to seven years in prison and Mohamed to 10 years last June amid widespread international condemnation.
Fiancée hopes for return to Canada
Marwa Omara, Mohamed Fahmy's fiancée, spoke to CBC Montreal's morning show, Daybreak, on Tuesday.
She said the family had been hoping Fahmy would be released at his New Year's Day court date. Instead, a retrial was ordered, despite what she said was a lack of evidence.
Omara said Egyptian retrials could take up to a year, during which time Fahmy would likely remain in prison.
Fahmy has had one operation for a broken shoulder, but needs a second surgery. Omara is hoping he can be deported to Canada to get his second operation.
"Since we’re getting closer to the finish line, we want more from [Prime Minister Stephen] Harper … because Mohamed’s health is deteriorating. We need their support. We need their support now," Omara said.
She said their plan since first agreeing to marry has been to move to Vancouver together.
Omara now has all of her documents in order so she can travel to Canada with Fahmy.
"I got my visa with the support of the Canadian government. So that we're ready, when they decide to deport Mohamed, I will be on the same plane."
Greste's family said it has also applied for deportation.
Fahmy's family said his lawyer, Amal Clooney, has requested a face-to-face meeting with Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird to discuss the conditions of deportation. Clooney is prepared to get on a plane and come to Ottawa if she gets the green light from Baird.
So far no meeting is scheduled.
Federal government supports appeal
In November, Egypt issued a new decree granting President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi the power to deport foreign defendants convicted or accused of crimes.
Baird was asked about the latest developments during an appearance in Toronto.
"The entire team, both in Cairo and Ottawa, have been working very hard on this, as I have," he told reporters.
"Obviously, we're pleased that he was granted an appeal. We've been working very closely at senior levels within the Egyptian government, and when we have further news to announce, we will."
A spokeswoman for Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Lynne Yelich said the government continues to harbour "serious concerns" about the judicial process that led to Fahmy's earlier conviction, and "welcome" the decision to hold a retrial.
"We anticipate the new judicial process involving Mr. Fahmy to be conducted in a fair, transparent and expedited manner," Erica Meekes told CBC News in a written statement.
"Canadian officials will continue providing consular assistance to Mr. Fahmy and working with Egyptian authorities to have his medical needs met."