Clooney says Canada should press Egypt on jailed journalist

George Clooney urged Canada’s prime minister to put pressure on Egypt’s government to free journalist Mohamed Fahmy

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George Clooney urged Canada’s prime minister on Friday to put pressure on Egypt’s government to free jailed Al-Jazeera English journalist Mohamed Fahmy from prison.

Clooney’s wife, Amal, is Fahmy’s lawyer. The actor made the remarks about Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the red carpet of the Toronto International Film Festival.

Fahmy, a Canadian, and two other journalists were sentenced to three years in prison this month in a case criticized by press freedom advocates and others.

The case against Fahmy, Australian journalist Peter Greste and Egyptian producer Baher Mohammad embroiled the journalists in the political turbulence engulfing Egypt since the 2013 military ouster of Islamist President Mohammad Mursi.

Authorities arrested the journalists and charged them with allegedly being part of Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood and airing falsified footage intended to damage national security.

The journalists denied the allegations, saying they were simply reporting the news. After this month’s ruling, Mohammad and Fahmy were imprisoned. Greste previously had been deported.

Fahmy, who had dual Egyptian-Canadian citizenship, renounced his Egyptian citizenship in a bid to be deported.

Harper has been criticized by Fahmy and others for not doing enough to get the journalist back to Canada. A message for Harper’s spokesman was not immediately returned.

“Mr. Clooney has said what literally thousands of people all over the world are saying every day. I am grateful that he has delivered such a powerful message in Toronto, and it put a smile on my face,” said Marwa Fahmy, Mohamed’s wife, in an email from Cairo. “I truly hope that even more people will learn of my husband’s plight and take action and call for his release. All I want is to see my husband free and live a normal life.”

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