British human rights lawyer Amal Clooney.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
British-Lebanese human rights lawyer Amal Clooney has called on Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to release and pardon an imprisoned Egyptian-Canadian journalist for Al Jazeera, whom she represents.
The attorney - who recently wed Hollywood star George Clooney - released a statement Friday, expressing disappointment over the lack of "concrete" progress toward the release of Mohamed Fahmy following a meeting with Egyptian and Canadian diplomats, Egypt's Al-Masry Al-Youm reported.
Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird expressed cautious optimism for Fahmy's release after talks with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shukri on Thursday.
“We hope that the Canadian government is resolved to continue the diplomatic process until Fahmy is released and can return home,” the paper quoted the statement as saying.
In the statement, Clooney pointed to Sisi, stating that he held the power to pardon the "bogus charges" against Fahmy, which lead to his conviction and sentence to seven year in jail.
Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy, Egyptian Baher Mohamed and Australian Peter Greste were sentenced last June to between seven and 10 years for spreading lies to help a "terrorist organization", a reference to Egypt's outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
According to the Egyptian report, Clooney stressed that it was "essential that Fahmy be transferred to Canada as soon as possible, in compliance with Egyptian and Canadian laws and applicable international instruments."
In November, Sisi said the issue of a presidential pardon was under discussion. Egypt's High Court ordered a retrial of the men on January 1.
Rights groups and Western governments have criticized the detentions. Al Jazeera says the trial was flawed and has demanded the journalists' release.Reuters contributed to this report.