Mohamed Fahmy campaigns to free other journalists
Published Friday, September 23, 2016 8:49AM EDT
A journalist who spent more than a year in jail in Egypt is telling his story to help other journalists and innocents wrongly jailed abroad.
Mohamed Fahmy spoke at Concordia University Thursday evening.
It was one year ago this week that Fahmy was released from prison in Cairo following a long and complicated legal battle.
"Most people, including me, think when you get arrested think this is a mistake, it will be over in the morning, it's not going to last that long," said Fahmy.
In Egypt to cover the uprising and change in government following the Arab Spring, Fahmy ended up spending 438 days in jail, six weeks of that in solitary confinement.
"I was arrested and branded as a journalist who was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, which they were designated as a terrorist group by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates and that I had fabricated news," said Fahmy.
The former Concordia University student said the ordeal gave him an appreciation for reporters working in dangerous areas, an appreciation that was shared by people in the audience.
Fahmy is advocating for the release of the more than 200 journalists who are imprisoned abroad, and for the release of Concordia professor Homa Hoodfar.
She visited family in Iran in February, but was was arrested in March and has been in solitary confinement since June.
"This is a woman that is over 60 years old. She has no stigma around her name. She's a professional academic and now she's probably sleeping on the floor in a cell somewhere the same way I was," said Fahmy.
Hoodfar's family is worried about her health, especially after she was hospitalized in August.
In the meantime Fahmy is continuing his fight for imprisoned journalists abroad. He has launched the Fahmy Foundation to urge the United Nations to protect journalists, and campaigns to see other journalists freed