Al Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy gives up Egyptian citizenship ahead of 'imminent' release

Three Al Jazeera journalists were sentenced in June over alleged promotion of 'a terrorist organisation'

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The Independent Online

Egypt could free Canadian-Egyptian journalist Mohamed Fahmy within hours, Qatar-based news channel Al Jazeera English reported today.

Fahmy’s colleague, Peter Greste, who is an Australian citizen, was released on Sunday. A third journalist, Baher Mohamed, an Egyptian national, is still held in prison in Cairo.

The three men were sentenced last June to between seven and 10 years on charges including spreading lies to help “a terrorist organisation” – which refers to the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

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(L to R): Baher Mohamed, Mohamed Fahmy and Peter Greste

Al Jazeera said that Fahmy had renounced his Egyptian citizenship, in a move that paves the way for him to be deported under a presidential decree.

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation yesterday that Fahmy’s release was “imminent” but did not say whether he meant hours or days.

A security source said on Sunday that Fahmy was expected to be released and deported to Canada within days.

Egyptian authorities accuse Qatar-based Al Jazeera of being a mouthpiece of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Qatari-backed movement which President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi toppled in 2013 when he was Egypt’s army chief.

Reporting by Reuters

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