Foreign Affairs Minister speaks out on Fahmy sentence

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is pledging to support jailed Egyptian-Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy.

Fahmy and two of his English al-Jazeera colleagues were sentenced Monday in Egypt to seven years in prison, on terrorism-related charges, a verdict widely denounced as an attack on freedom of expression.

The three journalists were convicted of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, which Egypt considers a terrorist organization and using false video footage to harm Egypt's security.

Baird told CFRA's Madely in the Morning Fahmy's case is complex.

"One of the challenges on this case is that al-Jazeera is, of course, funded by the Government of Qatar, which is also directly funding the Muslim Brotherhood and that's what makes this case more complex and adds a different dimension to it," said Baird.

Another challenge is the fact that Fahmy holds dual Egyptian-Canadian citizenship.

"Mr. Fahmy returned to Egypt. He's also a citizen there, which makes it somewhat more complicated," he said. "Obviously we're doing all we can."

The Ottawa-West Nepean MP is rejecting claims that the government hasn't done enough for Fahmy.

"We want a successful resolution and I guess either way, critics of the government can win because if we're loud and vocal, we're practicing bullhorn diplomacy and are not being professional, but if we try to take the case directly to the leadership, you know, you're accused of not standing up," said Baird. "I think you want to pursue the path that would be the most effective to resolving the case."

Baird said that path would be to continue lobbying the Egyptian government.

Click here to listen to Baird's full interview with CFRA's Mark Sutcliffe.

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