Al-Jazeera journalist says Canada not issuing him passport

AP News
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Posted: Apr 01, 2015 2:36 PM

TORONTO (AP) — Al-Jazeera English journalist Mohamed Fahmy, who remains in Egypt on bail while awaiting trial on terror charges, said Wednesday Canada is refusing to issue him a new passport.

Fahmy, who was born in Egypt and is a naturalized Canadian citizen, was freed from jail in February. He renounced his Egyptian citizenship last year as a condition of any future release from Egypt.

Fahmy and two other journalists were charged with being part of a terrorist group and airing falsified footage. They deny the charges.

Fahmy said his Canadian passport was confiscated when he was arrested in 2013. He said needs the passport to get married and has run into problems at security checkpoints in Cairo.

Under his bail conditions, Fahmy must check in with police every day and cannot leave Egypt. He said he's on a no-fly list.

"I was shocked to learn for the first time that Canada has been the obstacle in issuing a new passport for me," Fahmy said in an email to The Associated Press. "I am already on the no travel list. Why are they not issuing a passport??!!"

Fahmy provided a letter to The AP that he received from the Canadian embassy that states that Canada "requires that court-imposed mobility restrictions are respected."

The letter states a passport will be provided when "court-imposed travel restrictions against you are lifted."

Erica Meekes, a spokeswoman for Canada's foreign affairs department, said Fahmy will receive a new passport once his bail conditions are met.

Australian journalist Peter Greste, also charged in the case, was deported in February.

Fahmy has long said Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government hasn't done enough to win his release.

"This situation manifests my fears that the reason I had been left behind in Egypt after going through the disturbing motions of the renunciation of the Egyptian citizenship in order to be deported may have been partially due to the bureaucracy in Ottawa and the hyper-conservative approach Mr. Harper's government embraces," he said.