Canada to issue new passport to Al Jazeera journalist

Canadian government had been refusing to give Egyptian-born Mohamed Fahmy a new one citing his bail conditions.

    Fahmy's passport was confiscated when he was arrested in 2013 [AP]
    Fahmy's passport was confiscated when he was arrested in 2013 [AP]

    Canada has said it will issue a passport to Al Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy, who remains in Egypt on bail while awaiting trial for aiding a "terrorist organisation".

    Fahmy, who was born in Egypt and is a naturalised Canadian citizen, was freed from jail in February.

    His original passport was seized upon his detention in 2013, but the Canadian government had been refusing to give him a new one citing his bail conditions.

    On Monday, Chris Alexander, Canada's immigration minister, said in a statement to the Globe and Mail newspaper: "After several weeks of intervention by government officials on Mr Fahmy’s behalf, we are now in a position to issue Mr Fahmy a passport despite ongoing legal issues and travel restrictions."

    There was no indication whether Alexander's statement referred to Canadian or Egyptian officials. 

    Fahmy renounced his Egyptian citizenship last year as a condition of any future release from Egypt.

    He and two other Al Jazeera journalists - Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed - were charged with being part of a terrorist organisation and airing falsified footage, charges they and Al Jazeera have always denied.

    Greste was deported on February 1 under a presidential decree after languishing in jail for 400 days. He has since returned to his home in Australia.

    Fahmy told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation via Skype from Cairo on Tuesday that the Canadian ambassador to Egypt would be in court for the latest day of his trial on April 22, said Al Jazeera's Daniel Lak, reporting from Toronto.

    "Fahmy said the ambassador had told him that after the court appearance, Fahmy could come back to the embassy to fill in forms for his replacement passport," Lak said.

    "Then he'll wait for it to be issued. After that, he'll use his passport as ID so he can marry his fiancée as well as open a bank account ... His original Canadian passport was seized by Egyptian authorities when he was arrested in late 2013, and never returned."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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