Mohamed Fahmy calls for greater protection of Canadians imprisoned abroad
Formerly imprisoned Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy and Amnesty International Canada are calling for a new law that would outline how the federal government should respond when citizens are detained overseas.
Fahmy and Amnesty released the Protection Charter” – a proposal for “more effective action to defend the rights of Canadians abroad” – at a press conference Tuesday in Ottawa.
“I proposed a protection charter to Amnesty International to make sure no fellow Canadian suffers the same way I did in solitary confinement, sleeping on the floor, in a freezing cell, while nurturing a broken shoulder for a crime I didn’t commit,” Fahmy told reporters Tuesday.
The 12-point “Protection Charter” will outline steps to reform Canada’s consular laws, policies and practices when dealing with Canadians imprisoned abroad. Issues outlined in the proposal include:
- Ensuring equal and effective consular assistance
- Providing protection for journalists
- Consistently supporting death penalty clemency
- Establishing effective oversight of Canadian national security agencies.
READ MORE: One-on-one with Mohamed Fahmy
Fahmy and two colleagues were arrested in Egypt in December 2013 while working for satellite news broadcaster Al Jazeera English and faced widely denounced charges. He was freed from a Cairo prison last fall after spending more than a year behind bars on terrorism charges following a court case that received widespread international criticism.
In an exclusive interview with Global News on Monday, Fahmy spoke about his time in a Cairo prison.
“The conditions were horrific. There was no way of telling time, no way of knowing it was sun or night time,” said. “I wasn’t allowed out of my cell for a month, the food was horrible, the insects.”
He has previously spoken out about his experience in Egypt saying he felt “betrayed and abandoned” by former prime minister Stephen Harper.
Fahmy said he met today with Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion to discuss the charter and says he has “confidence” in the the new Liberal government’s approach to diplomacy.
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