ECCD Statement: An end to 558 days of unlawful detainment in Egypt: The release of Canadian permanent resident Khaled Al-Qazzaz
January 12 2014
The Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy (ECCD) joins Khaled Al-Qazzaz's supporters in celebrating the end of 558 days of unlawful detainment in Egypt.
ECCD extends its sincere congratulations to Sarah Attia, Canadian born wife of Khaled Al-Qazzaz, and their children, and hopes that they will all soon be reunited in Canada.
"All of us who have campaigned for the release of Mr. Al-Qazzaz, including some Canadian MP's, must be elated today. But the campaign is far from over. This is just an example of how eager the Egyptian regime is to silence international voices critical of its human rights record" said Mohamed Kamel, a founding member of ECCD. "We at ECCD remain gravely concerned with regard to the ongoing and very serious human rights violations in Egypt." added Mr. Kamel.
Mr. Baird has announced that he will be visiting Egypt soon. ECCD renews its call that the foreign affairs minister should take a firm stand and a principled position by voicing a strong opposition to human rights abuses in Egypt. He should also call for the immediate release of Mr. Fahmy, the Canadian Journalist imprisoned in Egypt, and his colleagues.
ECCD believes that Canada can lead the international community in pressing the Egyptian authorities to swiftly address the human rights concerns. We call upon the Canadian Government to issue a strong statement indicating that Canada is relieved to see Mr. Al-Qazzaz return to his family but expects immediate action to release Mr. Fahmy, and insists on immediate genuine steps towards restoring the protection of human rights and returning to a path of true democratic reform in Egypt.
About ECCD: Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy (ECCD) is a politically independent, non-affiliated pan Canadian organization with chapters in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Quebec City, Hamilton, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary, Vancouver, and Kingston, which advocates for democracy and human rights in Egypt.
For more information:
Ehab Lotayef: +1 (514) 941-9792
Ehab El-Komy: +1 (613) 852-1694
Mr. Al-Qazzaz, a former aide of President Morsi, is one of thousands of individuals who were locked up over the past year and half as part of a sweeping crackdown on dissent. While the Egyptian judiciary handed down shocking mass death sentences to hundreds of supporters of President Morsi, similar to Mr. Al-Qazzaz, the majority of the detainees remain unlawfully detained without charges.
The Egyptian Attorney General has issued an order for Mr. Al-Qazzaz's release on Monday December 29th 2014 and the prison authorities have released him on January 11th 2015. Unfortunately, Mr. Al-Qazaz's release, which was undoubtedly expedited by a tireless international campaign for his release, is not an indication of a change in government policy on human rights.
In June 2014, Mr. Fahmy, an Egyptian Canadian Journalist, and two Al-Jazeera colleagues, Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed, were convicted on charges of falsifying news and assisting the banned Muslim Brotherhood. Mr. Fahmy received a seven year prison sentence. Following media speculations that Mr. Fahmy and Mr. Greste may soon be released, the Egyptian court has ordered a re-trial of the 3 journalists. In the meantime, Mr. Fahmy and his colleagues remain in prison.