Canada's response to Fahmy sentence 'shameful,' says Canadian freed from Egyptian prison

Canada's Foreign Minister John Baird in London, June 12, 2014. (REUTERS/Carl Court/Pool)

Canada's Foreign Minister John Baird in London, June 12, 2014. (REUTERS/Carl Court/Pool)

Giuseppe Valiante, National Bureau

, Last Updated: 7:05 AM ET

OTTAWA — Canada is inconsistent in its response to its jailed citizens abroad, says John Greyson, one of two Canadians freed from an Egyptian prison in 2013.

Greyson said the Canadian government's tepid reaction to the seven-year sentence handed down in Cairo on Monday to Egyptian-Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy was "shameful."

He said Canada's treatment of Fahmy "really stood in contrast" to the response he and Tarek Loubani received.

"The government spoke out fast and early and it was a big part of why we were released," he said.

Fahmy and two other Al Jazeera journalists were convicted of reporting lies that harmed Egypt's national security and aiding the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

The three deny the charges.

Fahmy's sentence was widely recognized internationally as a sham end to a sham case, and an attempt by the Egyptian government to punish and intimidate news network Al Jazeera for allegedly fomenting dissent in the region and being close to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Journalist groups, opposition parties and Fahmy's family criticized Canada for failing to demand his immediate release.

On Tuesday, Baird said his department has been speaking privately with Egyptian authorities to ensure a "successful resolution" to the case, but he stopped short of calling for Fahmy's release.

Greyson said Canadians "want more and expect more" from their government.

Greyson and Loubani's case garnered international attention after the two were arrested in 2013 during a violent protest against then-Egyptian president Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood.

 


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