Verdict postponed for Canadian journalist held in Egypt

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SHAFAQNA - Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy says a verdict in his re-trial in Cairo has now been postponed until Aug. 8.

Fahmy, who faced widely denounced terror charges and had spent more than a year in prison before a successful appeal of an earlier conviction, told The Canadian Press early today that no reason has been given for the postponement.

He said he was standing outside court with the press corps when they were told to leave the area.

Fahmy said some lawyers are speculating that the postponement could be related to the opening of the Suez Canal in Egypt on Aug. 6 and that officials “don’t want any publicity before that very big day.”

He said there is also speculation that the judge in the case is sick.

Fahmy called the situation is “very insulting” and that he was hoping for at least an official statement or announcement from the government.

The 41-year-old’s troubles began in December 2013 when he was working as the Cairo bureau chief for Qatar-based satellite news broadcaster Al Jazeera English.

He and two colleagues were abruptly arrested and charged with a slew of offences, including supporting the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, a banned organization affiliated with ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, and with fabricating footage to undermine the country’s national security.

The trio maintained their innocence throughout, saying they were just doing their jobs, but after a trial which was internationally decried as a sham, they were found guilty and sentenced to prison terms.

One of the three men – Australian Peter Greste – was suddenly allowed to leave Egypt before their retrial began, under a law which allows for the deportation of foreign nationals convicted of crimes.

Fahmy gave up his dual Egyptian citizenship while behind bars in the hopes that he could follow the same path, but that didn’t happen. He was, however, granted bail in February shortly after his second trial got underway.

Fahmy moved to Canada with his family in 1991, living in Montreal and Vancouver for years before eventually moving abroad for work, which included covering stories for the New York Times and CNN.

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