August 31, 2015

Is Mohammed Fahmy's sentencing as easy to undo as Opposition leaders naively believe?

Brian LilleyArchive

It's a cause célèbre these days trying to get Mohammed Fahmy out of an Egyptian jail.

At any time, there are thousands of Canadians in jail around the world for breaking or allegedly breaking laws in other countries but Canada can't always get them out.

Fahmy is a journalist who was working for the Qatar backed Al Jazeera when he was arrested in 2013. There's no question that this is a situation that has a lot of political stakes in it so is it as simple as Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau would have you believe?

I explain why it isn't that simple and why just loudly proclaiming that Mohammed Fahmy's a Canadian and therefore he should get out of jail, is naive and anyone that thinks this is a solid foreign policy position, is naive as well.


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commented 2015-09-07 15:00:23 -0400
Interfering with the justice system of a sovereign nation is an act of colonialism. Surely the left would not want us to do that.
commented 2015-09-02 21:36:50 -0400
Egyptian born Fahmy who worked for Qatar based Al Jareera entered Egypt on his Egyptian passport to work.
When things didn’t go well . . . it becomes Canada’s problem?
Way past “Nuts” being a dual citizen is NOT a Get out of Jail Free card . . . that is only in Monopoly Justin and Tom !
commented 2015-09-02 15:26:38 -0400
You can’t push countries around when it comes to releasing a prisoner! Any country would call that interference. Jason Mckenny said on a TV interview that pushing and demanding another country to release a prisoner is not the approach. That Trust Fund, Trudeau and doule- citizenship, Mulclair are both so inexperienced they actually don’t know better with what they are saying. As long as they both are talking against the conservative party, that is all they care!!! Trudeau said this morning he would bring 250,000 Syrian refugees to Canada!!! I wonder how many of the Syrian refugees would be ex-isis members? Does that Trust Fund, Trudeau ever think ahead? Now instead of the Trust Fund, Trudeau spending $10 billions in debt if he was PM, he will have to revise his debt to maybe $20 billion to help all the refugees.
commented 2015-09-01 19:23:55 -0400
Henry Reardon – Bingo!
commented 2015-09-01 17:40:18 -0400
funny to listen to the gutless puke out there. so trudeau and mulcair, is it now time to go to war against egypt to get him released. or should we do what you clowns would do against isil[the beheading of kids organization]. enough said jerks.
commented 2015-09-01 15:51:50 -0400
If Canada has already spoken up on this loser’s behalf and the Egyptian government won’t listen, nothing more can be done. Let his wife and his family go there to get him out. He’s probably a terrorist supporter anyway so who cares.
commented 2015-09-01 15:17:43 -0400
Great article, Brian! I agree with many of the comments that I see posted. The opposition leaders and the Media Party are using this to paint Mr. Harper in a negative way.
commented 2015-09-01 12:24:31 -0400
He entered Egypt on an Egyptian passport and only recently gave up his Egyptian Citizenship in an effort to be treated better. However, he was an Egyptian Citizen when he was arrested and entered Egypt on an Egyptian passport, so it is not Canada’s concern.
Canada should take the same route as some other countries with dual citizens. When you are a dual and you enter a country, the country that is responsible for you if you get into trouble is the one whose passport you used to gain entry. Since it is a requirement by many nations to use the passport of the host nation when entering (in this case the Egyptian passport), it is Egypt’s problem, not ours.
commented 2015-09-01 09:46:21 -0400
Angry Tom and the Pot-Smoking Camp Counsellor clearly demonstrate their total ignorance concerning international affairs. The fact the this “journalist” worked for a news agency friendly to the Muslim Brotherhood is key in this case. In fact, this justt goes to show that journalists cannot expect immunity for their stances in some countries.

The wonder is that the Media Party here in Canada gets away with its abject partisan adherence and support with impunity. Maybe we should call for the imprisoning of those who pretend to be what they are not based upon their perceived immunity. That would be interesting!
commented 2015-09-01 05:48:40 -0400
Whatever happened to those kids from Saskatchewan who were caught taking nude photos on a sacred mountain in Malaysia?
commented 2015-09-01 05:43:22 -0400
Dan, I remember that clearly. Complete waste of resources. NAIVE. Pretty much sums up the NDP, Liberal and media mentality
commented 2015-09-01 01:10:20 -0400
This is similar to the Lebanese ‘Canadians of Convenience’ it cost Canadian taxpayers about $100 Million to ‘rescue’ from their permanent homes in Lebanon in 2006. Over half the 15,000 Lebanese/Canadians moved back to their homes in Lebanon within a moth of being ‘evacuated’…$100 Million! One example…
commented 2015-09-01 00:21:31 -0400
Trudeau and Mulcair – and their allies in the media (or as Ezra Levant puts it “the Media Party”) – are trying to score political points against Harper. They essentially make Fahmy a martyr and then imply it’s all Harper’s fault that he is being “persecuted” by the Egyptians. They present it as a given that he did nothing wrong. Well, I don’t know about you but I am not particularly knowledgeable about Egyptian politics or just how crazy things got under Morsi and the reign of the Muslim Brotherhood. For all I know, Fahmy and his colleagues were open propagandists for the Brotherhood while Morsi was in power. Al Jazeera certainly loves the Muslim Brotherhood so would it be surprising if their reporters spun things to the Brotherhood’s liking, just the way our reporters spin things according to their almost inevitably Left-leaning values?

And then there are the administrative violations of not having the proper permits to operate in Egypt as a journalist. Fahmy was an experienced journalist working for an experienced media outlet in the country of his birth. Is it really credible that NOBODY found out the rules for conducting journalism in Egypt before sending him there? Or were they so sure Morsi was in power to stay that they had no fear of being hassled by a government that had the same ideology as they did so they knowingly cut some corners?
commented 2015-08-31 21:58:38 -0400
Is Fahmy’s Canadian citizenship just a matter of convenience?
commented 2015-08-31 21:08:19 -0400
Forgive me, but what does Justin’s Iranian advisor think of this situation? Remember also that the Boy Leader’s brother is a major apologist for Saddam Hussein’s rule of Iraq.
commented 2015-08-31 21:06:41 -0400
Perfect example of why foreign nationals should stay out of Arab countries. The world is a dangerous place! Especially for those with dual passports.
commented 2015-08-31 20:47:43 -0400
Of course opposition leader Mulcair and the leader of the third party know fine well just how difficult it is to undo the sentence of a foreign country’s conviction. They play on what they believe is our ignorance of the facts and how the world works, whilst simultaneously beating their little chests in a false show of bravado in a shameless, feeble and pathetically shallow attempt at portraying themselves as men of action.
Additionally, I’ve been led to believe that Fahmy entered Egypt by using his Egyptian passport and that would add significant weight to the Egyptian authorities treating him primarily as an Egyptian citizen and as such he would therefore be accorded all the courtesies and privileges then due to him.
commented 2015-08-31 20:25:12 -0400
I am glad Brian mentioned Zara Kazemi. That was much worse than what is happening to Fahmy.

Greste says he believes Fahmy may succeed in appeals court and Fahmy himself says he will apply for a presidential pardon. That may be his best bet and Harper can help with that.

But Fahmy is his own worst enemy. He could have been out when Greste was had he, like Greste, accepted a deal that included not being allowed back into Egypt. Then he also refused Canadian consular aid. And when he was sentenced at his first trial, he refused to appeal, saying he would spend his jail time getting a law degree. He initiated these activist decisions while Muslim Brotherhood leader, Mohammud Morsi, was still in power. It was only when al-Sisi took over that Fahmy began to beg for help. It was then he hired Clooney to bring his case to the attention of the international media and spin it as a political witch hunt.

In fact, Fahmy was convicted, the second time, not of spying but of a number of regulatory violations he is clearly guilty of. So, Brian and Kenney are right. It is not as easy to make an appeal on behalf of a journalist who so disrespected Egypt’s administration that he repeatedly broke its regulatory laws as it would be were Fahmy’s conviction a clear-cut case of political persecution.

Fahmy blames al-Jazeera for his regulatory violations and has commenced a civil suit against the Qatar-backed media claiming they put his freedom at risk by caring more about their story than about his safety.

Fahmy’s initial sentence was seven years. This one is three. Easy time, if he can’t get a pardon or win on appeal. It’s not like he is in Evian Prison being gang-raped and brain-injured as Canadian-Iranian journalist Zara Kazemi was, not for violating regulations but for filming a student protest.

I don’t blame Egypt for making an example of Fahmy, by sending the message that it won’t tolerate flagrant violations of its rule of law by Muslim Brotherhood-backed al-Jazeera journalists like Fahmy. This conviction may be more posturing for the press than it is a final decision. Harper may already have brokered a deal with al-Sisi for a pardon. If so, it serves Fahmy right to worry he may be stuck in prison for three years because even while he was begging for Harper’s help, he and Clooney never stopped, for a second, biting the hand that can save them by repeatedly and publicly criticizing Harper’s government and politics. It is good to shake his confidence in his own importance as it is to show Amal Clooney her status and bullying also have limitations.

I think hiring Clooney actually hurt Fahmy because Kenney is right. Trying this case in the media has been an effort to make the government of al-Sisi lose face, to win by weakening al-Sisi and bringing his authority under international ridicule. That strategy backfired, as it should. Al-Sisi is a friend of Israel and a friend of Canada and we do not bully our allies. We negotiate in good faith.
commented 2015-08-31 19:48:38 -0400
Thanks Brian. I had no idea until just now that he was an Egyptian citizen. That kind of sums it up for the whole and entire issue. Maybe Canada should be more discriminate when giving away citizenships.
commented 2015-08-31 19:32:37 -0400
He should do his time.