Mohamed Fahmy, Canadian journalist, arrives in Vancouver
'This is a very happy moment for me,' says Canadian journalist detained in Egypt until recently
Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy has arrived in Vancouver, the final destination of a journey that included stops in London and Toronto to speak out about his detainment in Egypt on widely-denounced terror charges connected with his reporting work.
"This is all just very great in every possible way," said Fahmy. "This is a very happy moment for me."
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Fahmy is in Vancouver to start working as a journalist in residence at UBC's Global Reporting Centre.
The former Al-Jazeera English Network bureau chief said he lived in Vancouver for a year, and remembered that time fondly.
"It was a very beautiful year ... I always wanted to come back," he said. "I've been caught in one big story in the Middle East — from war to war, and revolution to revolution," he said.
Fahmy arrived in Vancouver alongside his wife, Marwa Omara, with whom he said he intends to relax and recuperate from his ordeals.
"Vancouver is just the best place to do that," he said.
From journalist to advocate
Fahmy flew to Vancouver from Toronto, where he thanked federal party leaders Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau for their support while he was detained in Egypt.
"They've been very supportive, at a time when I needed support very, very much," he said.
Although Fahmy said he was grateful for Ottawa's attempts "to extract me from Egypt," he did reiterate his criticism of the "very mild" advocacy from Stephen Harper's Conservative government.
"There' s so much that could have been done in a better way," he told the crowd at Vancouver International Airport.
Fahmy has become a champion for imprisoned journalists, creating the Fahmy Foundation for Free Press to provide financial assistance and advocate for reporters behind bars.
He said the support he received from journalists and citizens worldwide while he was imprisoned was integral to his eventual release.
"You guys who really, really made it happen — every tweet, every rally, every petition that was signed," he said.
Fahmy went from Egypt to England to talk about his experiences at London's Frontline Club, along with his lawyer Amal Clooney.
He said arriving in Canada days before the federal election was "a very exciting moment" for him, and he intends to vote — as soon as he figures out his address.
With files from Kiran Dhillon