Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird said Monday that the release of Al Jazeera’s imprisoned Canadian-Egyptian journalist Mohamed Fahmy from Egyptian prison is “imminent”, AFP reported.
His spokesman confirmed the statement but declined to elaborate, as Canadian diplomats reportedly met their counterparts in Cairo to press the case, a day after fellow Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste was deported to Australia, according to the agency’s report.
Fahmy’s Twitter account, run by his brother, has been retweeting the news since it was broken by the French agency.
According to the Canadian TV channel CTV News, Fahmy, who worked as chief of Al Jazeera English bureau in Cairo, dropped Egyptian citizenship weeks ago in order to go through with the deportation procedures like his fellow Australian colleague.
Greste was released Sunday morning from Tora Prison in Cairo by presidential decree following almost 400 days in prison.
Reports claimed Sunday that Fahmy was to renounce his Egyptian nationality for him to be deported from Egypt. However, his lawyer Negad Al-Boraei denied Sunday that Fahmy renounced nationality, but confirmed he has to in order to be qualified for deportation.
Egyptian authorities told Fahmy that his only way to go out of jail is to drop his nationality and that “nationality is in heart not on paper”, CTV reported.
Fahmy, Greste and their colleague Baher Mohamed were arrested while working for Al Jazeera English in December 2013. The journalists were convicted of spreading false news and supporting Egypt’s now outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
The three received sentences ranging between seven and ten years in prison each. Egypt’s Court of Cassation accepted on 1 January an appeal filed in the case of the three jailed journalists, and ordered a retrial.