UBC School of Journalism calls for release of Canadian journalist and Al Jazeera colleagues detained in Egypt

The University of British Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism and the International Reporting Program are calling for the release of Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed, three Al Jazeera English journalists who were detained by Egyptian authorities last month.

FahmyFahmy, who holds dual Canadian and Egyptian citizenship, works as a producer at Al Jazeera’s English-language bureau in Cairo. He, along with Australian journalist Greste and Egyptian journalist Mohamed, were arrested on December 29th filming an interview with members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Egyptian authorities accused the reporters of “harming national security” by speaking with the Muslim Brotherhood — an Islamic political organization, which was recently deemed a terrorist group by the Egyptian government.

Fahmy, who wrote the book “Baghdad Bound: An Interpreter’s Chronicles of the Iraq War,” has worked as an interpreter throughout the Middle East. He graduated from City University in Vancouver in 1999.

“The international community must not be silent when journalists who risk their lives are targeted by regimes hostile to a free press,” said Peter W. Klein, founding director of the International Reporting Program and head of the UBC Graduate School of Journalism.

Yesterday a group of more than 40 editors and correspondents issued a statement condemning the Egyptian government of the “arbitrary imprisonment” of the men, “all three of whom are well-respected journalists.”

UBC President Stephen Toope, a renowned human rights lawyer, said the detentions are “a worrying development as Egypt moves toward elections.”

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists just released a report calling Egypt the third most dangerous country for journalists, after Syria and Iraq.

Last year Canadian citizens John Greyson and Tarek Loubani were held for 53 days while traveling through Cairo.