TORONTO (AP) — The Canadian government said Monday it will issue a passport to Al-Jazeera English journalist Mohamed Fahmy who remains in Egypt on bail while awaiting trial on terror charges, reversing an earlier decision denying him one.
Kevin Menard, a spokesman for Canada's immigration minister, said they are "now in a position to issue Mr. Fahmy a passport despite ongoing legal issues and travel restrictions."
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.
He and two other journalists were charged with being part of a terrorist group and airing falsified footage. They deny the charges.
Fahmy's passport was confiscated when he was arrested in 2013.
Canada earlier refused to issue him a new passport while he remained under court-imposed travel restrictions.
"Finally good news, in the midst of this unjust tribulation. I can now walk the streets safely," Fahmy said in an email to The Associated Press.
"The replacement passport means wedding bells and a trip to Egypt's coast for a honeymoon by the sea I dreamt about in prison more than a year! Grateful to all the media and Canadian officials who supported me in this struggle to obtain my rights as a proud Canadian."
Fahmy said he 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.
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. It was not immediately clear why the Harper government reversed its decision.