Jan 16, 2015

By Michael Kramer

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Amnesty International Canada calls on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to make a “clear and direct request” – for the release of an Egyptian-Canadian journalist who has spent more than a year in a Cairo jail.

The human rights group asks Harper – in an open letter – to intervene in the case of Mohamed Fahmy:  by reaching out to Egypt’s president.

Yesterday,  Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird discussed Fahmy’s case with Egypt’s Foreign Minister in Cairo and said Canada hopes for a resolution in the matter “sooner rather than later.”

That came as a disappointment to Fahmy, who said through his lawyers that he believed Harper could do more to secure his release – if he were to directly intervene.

Amnesty says it is convinced a request from Harper would “carry considerable influence” with Egyptian authorities in general – and with Egypt’s President in particular.

Fahmy was arrested – along with two colleagues – on December 29th, 2013 – while working for Al Jazeera English.

All three were convicted last year on terror-related charges.

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