Mohamed Fahmy calls on Stephen Harper to push Egypt on deportation
Canadian journalist spent more than 400 days behind bars in Egyptian prison
In his first television interview since his release from an Egyptian prison, Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy said he wants Prime Minister Stephen Harper to push Egypt for his deportation back to Canada.
"I really hope that the prime minister is listening to me right now," Fahmy told the fifth estate's Gillian Findlay in Cairo, on Tuesday.
After his release last week on bail following 412 days behind bars, Fahmy faces a retrial that is slated to begin Monday.
Fahmy was the bureau chief for the Al-Jazeera English network in Cairo when he was arrested in December 2013 along with two colleagues – Baher Mohamed of Egypt and Peter Greste of Australia.
The three were tried on charges of broadcasting "false news" and supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, which Egypt has declared a terrorist group, convicted and sent to prison. Fahmy was given a seven-year sentence.
Their convictions were thrown out last month, and a retrial was ordered.
Since then, Greste has been deported back to Australia, after Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott called Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi.
Fahmy urged Harper to make a similar call, as deportation could solve his legal situation. Egyptian lawmakers in late 2014 gave the president new powers to pardon or deport foreigners convicted of crimes in Egypt.
"Of course it could happen," he said, referring to the possibility of him getting sent home if the prime minister calls Egypt's president.
"How hard is it?" Fahmy added.
'Treated as a terrorist'
Following his initial arrest, Fahmy said he was put in solitary confinement in a high security prison. When he was allowed visits from guests, such as his mother or his fiancée, they were separated by a glass barrier.
"I was treated as a terrorist," he said.
Fahmy also had pointed comments for Al-Jazeera, saying he was furious when the network filed a lawsuit for $150-million US against Egypt while he was being held in custody.
The suit, filed by the Qatar-based network, claims that Egypt's military-backed government damaged its business by ousting former president Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood in July 2013. It is seeking damages over the closing of its Cairo offices, interruptions in its satellite feeds and mistreatment of its journalists. The suit also alleges Egypt breached international law and the terms of a bilateral investment treaty with Qatar.
"That is not acceptable," he said, adding that the network should have waited until its journalists were safe before proceeding with the lawsuit.
You can watch the full interview on the fifth estate. 400 Days: The Mohamed Fahmy Story will air this Friday at 9 p.m.