CAIRO — Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says he hopes for a resolution “sooner rather than later” in the case of imprisoned Egyptian-Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy.
Baird made the comments during a joint news conference with his Egyptian counterpart in Cairo Thursday after the two met to discuss Fahmy’s case, among other issues.
Fahmy has spent more than a year in a Cairo prison after he and two colleagues were arrested while working for satellite news broadcaster Al Jazeera English.
After a trial widely denounced as a sham, the trio were convicted on terror-related charges they vehemently deny.
Fahmy’s family had expressed hope that Baird’s visit would mark the “finale” to Fahmy’s ordeal.
But the minister said while his discussions about the journalist were “constructive and fruitful,” the matter is “a complicated one.”
He told reporters that he went to Cairo with no expectation of resolving the issue immediately.
Baird’s visit comes nearly two weeks after Egypt’s Appeals Court ordered a retrial for Fahmy and his colleagues.
The three journalists were arrested on Dec. 29 2013 and accused of supporting the banned Islamist Muslim Brotherhood group of ousted Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi. They were also charged with fabricating footage to undermine Egypt’s national security.
After being convicted last year, Fahmy and his Australian colleague, Peter Greste, were sentenced to seven years in prison, while his Egyptian co-worker, Baher Mohamed, was sentenced to 10 years.
Fahmy’s family and a number of observers have suggested the case is largely a political one as Egyptian authorities have claimed Qatar-based Al Jazeera is biased towards the ousted Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood — an allegation the broadcaster has rejected.