Canada says journalist Fahmy retrial `unacceptable`

Canada welcomed Thursday Egypt`s release on bail of Al-Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy, but warned any prospect of a retrial would be "unacceptable."

AFP| Updated: Feb 13, 2015, 07:26 AM IST

Toronto: Canada welcomed Thursday Egypt`s release on bail of Al-Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy, but warned any prospect of a retrial would be "unacceptable."

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, meanwhile, expressed optimism that the case would be resolved soon.

"While we welcome Mohamed Fahmy`s release on bail, we continue to call for his immediate and full release," Canadian Consular Affairs Minister Lynne Yelich said.

She added that "the prospect of Mr Fahmy standing retrial is unacceptable" and that he should be returned to Canada.

Fahmy, who is Canadian and whose family hoped he would be deported, must pay 250,000 Egyptian pounds ($33,000) bail and appear in court again on February 23.

He and his colleagues, Egyptian Baher Mohamed and Australian Peter Greste, were accused of supporting the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood and originally jailed for between seven and 10 years each.

An appeals court ordered a retrial of the three journalists, who had already spent more than a year in jail.

Earlier this month, Greste was returned to Australia under a law passed last year by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi allowing foreigners to be deported to their home countries to stand trial or serve out their sentences.

Fahmy renounced his Egyptian citizenship to benefit from the law but was not sent to Canada.

Harper had no explanation for the different outcomes, except to say "the two cases are not identical."

"We will continue to press for his release, and we do remain optimistic this case will be resolved," he added.

Officials said Harper has personally raised the case with President Sisi, while Canadian officials have pressed Egyptian officials 19 times in the last two weeks.