TORONTO – A Canadian journalist who spent much of the last two years jailed in Egypt said Monday his lawyer has requested Egyptian authorities restore the citizenship he renounced in order to win his release.
Mohamed Fahmy, a former Al-Jazeera journalist who was released in September after receiving a pardon Egypt's president, was a dual citizen but renounced his Egyptian citizenship late last year after being asked to do as a condition of his release. He said he never wanted to do that.
Fahmy was arrested in 2013 with two Al-Jazeera English colleagues. In a case widely condemned by rights groups, he was sentenced to three years in prison in a retrial this year for airing what a court described as "false news" and coverage biased in favor of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood. After he renounced the citizenship, Fahmy underwent trial and was sentenced to prison for three years and only released through a pardon in late September.
Fahmy now lives in Canada but owns property in Egypt and said reclaiming citizenship is a matter of principle.
"I want to go and report there one day," he said. "It's still part of my being. It would really be annoying to get a visa to go back to Egypt."
His lawyer submitted the request to the Ministry of Interior on Monday. He said Egyptian law states that the minister of interior and the president of Egypt are both authorized to grant the citizenship.
Fahmy is currently an adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia but said he is itching to report again.