British-Lebanese human rights lawyer Amal Clooney called upon Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to release Egyptian Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy, whom she represents. The attorney released a statement expressing her disappointment over the lack of "concrete" progress toward the release of Fahmy, following a meeting with Egyptian and Canadian diplomats.
The attorney, who made headlines in Hollywood after marrying actor George Clooney recently, wrote in the statement, "We hope that the Canadian government is resolved to continue the diplomatic process until Fahmy is released and can return home," reports The Jerusalem Post. Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird had expressed vigilant optimism for Fahmy's release after talks with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shukri on Thursday.
In the statement, Clooney pointed to Sisi that he possessed the power to pardon the "bogus charges" against Fahmy, which lead to his conviction and subsequent seven-year sentence in jail.
Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, along with two other journalists Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed - all working with Al Jazeera - were arrested in December 2013 for "publishing false news about Egypt" in support of Muslim Brotherhood. Australian Greste and Canadian-Egyptian Fahmy were sentenced to seven years in prison and Egyptian Mohamed was handed a 10-year jail term.
The Muslim Brotherhood, a religious group active in politics, was banned in Egypt and labelled a terrorist organisation after the country's first democratically-elected president Mohammed Morsi was ousted in 2013.
In November 2014 Sisi had promised that the issue of a presidential pardon was under discussion, and the trio were granted trial by the Egyptian Court of Cassation earlier this month.
Clooney has also reiterated in her statement that it was "essential that Fahmy be transferred to Canada as soon as possible, in compliance with Egyptian and Canadian laws and applicable international instruments."
Al Jazeera has also repeatedly expressed anger over the unlawful imprisonment of the journalists while no real progress had occurred regarding their releases.