Mohamed Fahmy, Canadian journalist on bail in Cairo, braces for Thursday verdict
Accused of supporting outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, Fahmy fears return to prison
Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy, who is on bail in Cairo, fears he and two other journalists will be ordered back in jail when a court in Cairo hands down its verdict on Thursday.
Fahmy, the former Cairo bureau chief for Al Jazeera, was arrested in December 2013 along with two colleagues Australian Peter Greste and Egyptian Baher Mohamed. Egyptian authorities accused them of spreading false news and of supporting the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
The trio were found guilty with Fahmy and Greste sentenced to seven years in prison and with Mohamed receiving ten years. They spent more than a year behind bars before a new trial was ordered, and they were granted bail in February.
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In an interview with CBC News in Cairo on the eve of the verdict, Fahmy says he's had trouble sleeping because he's worried about Thursday's outcome.
"It's really nerve wracking knowing that tomorrow my destiny will be decided by the judge," said Fahmy on Wednesday.
"If this verdict is just, we should be exonerated of all charges," Fahmy said.
Fahmy, however, is worried the ruling may be tainted by politics. Al Jazeera, he says, is seen by Egypt's rulers as backing the Muslim Brotherhood, the group whose leader, Mohamed Morsi, became Egypt's first elected president in 2012 before being ousted by the military a year later.
"The judge may decide to punish Al Jazeera by silencing us, which is not acceptable," Fahmy said.
While Fahmy is holding out hope he will be acquitted, he acknowledged there is a real chance he could be sent back to prison where he has already spent more than 400 days.
"What I see now with how the judicial community is treating a lot of these trials in Egyptian courts is very troubling," Fahmy said.
"It's just something that worries me very much that we may end up back in prison."
If that happens, he says his international legal representative — the high-profile human rights lawyer Amal Clooney —will fly to Cairo to argue Fahmy should be deported to Canada.
One of Fahmy's co-accused, Australian Peter Greste was deported to his native country in February of this year. At the time, John Baird, then Canada's foreign affairs minister suggested Fahmy's own release was imminent.
Fahmy and his supporters had complained the Canadian government was doing far less to help him than the Australian government did to support Greste.
Fahmy said the federal government has taken a more active interest in his case lately but still needs to send a message to the Egyptian regime that Canada will not stay silent if a citizen is being mistreated.