The high-profile lawyer for detained Al Jazeera journalist and Canadian citizen Mohamed Fahmy, is calling on Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to personally intervene in the case. Speaking to CBC in Cairo on 30 August, human rights attorney Amal Clooney said she got "exemplary" support from the Canadians on the ground but believes more can be done.
"What needs to happen now, in my view, is very high-level engagement by the government of Canada and that means Prime Minister Harper engaging directly with President Sisi," she said. "If I were a Canadian citizen, I would want to see my prime minister now showing leadership on the global stage."
The Canadian government has formally applied to Egyptian authorities for the pardon and deportation of Fahmy. He was sentenced to three years in prison on 30 August, along with his Al Jazeera colleagues Baher Mohamed and Peter Greste. Greste was deported to his native Australia earlier this year.
The trio faced widely denounced terror charges and had spent more than a year in prison before a successful appeal of an earlier conviction resulted in the re-trial that culminated in the verdict.
In his ruling, Judge Hassan Farid said he sentenced the men to prison because they had not registered with the country's journalist syndicate. He also said the men brought in equipment without the approval of security officials, had broadcast "false news" on Al-Jazeera and used a hotel as a broadcasting point without permission. Clooney said it was an extremely urgent situation.
"This is the most high-profile case of a Canadian abroad being imprisoned on sham charges," Clooney said. "It's a dangerous precedent being set. It's a journalist who's going to prison for no reason."
Clooney says Fahmy has been a "very outspoken critic" of the Muslim Brotherhood, and that puts him at risk behind bars. "At the moment in Egypt there are many people in prison who are from that group and, therefore, his physical safety may be in danger," she said.
She also said she was concerned about Fahmy's health in jail. He has hepatitis C and needs surgery for a shoulder injury, Clooney said. Neither she nor his family have spoken to Fahmy since the verdict, she said.
"The family was told they wouldn't be able to see him for 30 days, but I know that the Canadian Embassy has put in a request today for permission to see him earlier than that, so we're very much hoping that that's possible," she said.
Clooney said she was pursuing two possible avenues: having Fahmy pardoned or having him deported to Canada.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, who has spoken out against the case, has said he would pardon Fahmy. But he also said he could not step in while the court process was ongoing, Clooney said.