Amal Clooney has called on the Egyptian government to release the Al Jazeeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy, calling the trial against him "fundamentally unfair and his imprisonment a travesty of justice."
Fahmy, along with Australian national Peter Greste and local producer Baher Mohamed, was arrested more than 300 days ago and sentenced in June to seven years in prison for aiding terrorists, doctoring footage and conspiring against the Egyptian State. All three have maintained their innocence, and argue that their imprisonment is part of a larger, ongoing feud between the Egyptian government and Qatar, which backs the Al Jazeera network.
On Thursday, Clooney released a statement co-authored by Mark Wassouf, a fellow lawyer at Doughty Street Chambers, that revealed Fahmy needed urgent medical treatment for hepatitis C and a shoulder injury that had worsened during his time in prison.
"Mr Fahmy's detention has become a great danger to his health," the statement said. "Mr Fahmy suffers from hepatitis C, a disease of the liver that can be terminal and that requires special treatment that Mr Fahmy cannot receive while he is in detention. He has also suffered a permanent disability in his right shoulder due to an injury exacerbated during his detention. He will require a series of complicated correctional bone surgeries that also require extensive recovery and support not readily available in prison."
The statement added that under "the Egyptian Code of Criminal Procedure the prosecutor is empowered to grant compassionate release on health grounds."
Clooney is no stranger to the Egyptian judiciary, having published a report citing the flaws in Egypt's legal system.
Fahmy's Twitter account confirmed that he had privately retained Clooney and her colleagues as his new legal counsel.
Fahmy's friends and family have previously complained about the lawyers hired by Al Jazeera to represent the imprisoned journalist, and said that Al Jazeera executives have been unhelpful and occasionally caused damage to the case.
Sheera Frenkel is a cybersecurity correspondent for BuzzFeed News based in San Francisco. She has reported from Israel, Egypt, Jordan and across the Middle East. Her secure PGP fingerprint is 4A53 A35C 06BE 5339 E9B6 D54E 73A6 0F6A E252 A50F
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