January 11, 2015 3:34 pm
Updated: January 13, 2015 5:10 pm

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird to push for Fahmy’s release while in Egypt


WATCH:  Baird is travelling to Egypt for ongoing discussions and a possible resolution of detained Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy.

The fate of imprisoned Egyptian-Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy could be decided on Thursday when Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird arrives in Cairo.

That’s the day Baird will meet with his Egyptian counterpart Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.

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“While I’m [in Egypt], I’ll certainly take the opportunity as I have in the past, to raise Mr. Fahmy’s case,” Baird said in an interview on The West Block.

Baird’s office is treading lightly in what could be the final hours of the Canadian’s controversial incarceration, in what appears to be an attempt to avoid scuttling any plans for his possible release.

“Canada has been an ardent supporter of Egypt’s efforts to build a stable, inclusive, prosperous and democratic country based on respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law,” Baird said in a statement after he left Canada.

“This trip will be an opportunity to further advance these priorities.”

Earlier this month, an Egyptian court ordered a retrial for Fahmy and his colleagues, Australian correspondent Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed, an Egyptian producer, but a date has yet to be set.

Last week, The Canadian Press reported that Fahmy’s family expects him to be deported before a new trial takes place.

Sources told The West Block the next few days would be critical for Fahmy’s case, but Baird was cautious in his interview.

“We’ve heard some positive signals coming out of Cairo. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves but obviously [Minister of State for Consular Affairs] Lynne Yelich, our consular team around the world, including myself, we all work hard to advocate on behalf of Canadians when they face unjust persecutions.”

Fahmy was given a stiff sentence last summer for allegedly spreading false news and supporting the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

– with files from The Canadian Press


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