Jailed Jazeera reporter donates funds to Sisi's Egypt plan
CAIRO - Agence France-Presse
Al-Jazeera news channel's Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fadel Fahmy listens to the verdict inside the defendants cage during his trial for allegedly supporting the Muslim Brotherhood on June 23, 2014 at the police institute near Cairo's Tora prison. AFP PhotoAn Al-Jazeera journalist whose jailing triggered global outrage has donated 15,000 Egyptian pounds to a fund initiated by the president to boost Egypt's ailing economy, his brother said on Thursday.
Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, who was sentenced to seven years in jail along with two other Al-Jazeera journalists for allegedly aiding the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood, made the donation to Tahya Misr (Long Live Egypt), an initiative of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
"When we visited the prison yesterday (Wednesday), Mohamed told us to donate 15,000 pounds (about $2,000/1,670 euros) to this fund," Adel Fadel Fahmy told AFP as he made the donation at a bank on Thursday.
"Mohamed has always been patriotic and feels that the Egyptian economy needs support."
When asked whether the donation was aimed at securing a pardon from the president for his brother, Adel said: "It is not linked... He (Mohamed) wants to distinguish between his love for Egypt and his disappointment and anger over the verdict."
"As a family, we don't expect this small donation to secure a pardon for him. These are two separate issues." In a speech on Tuesday, Sisi said he himself would donate half his salary and half of what he owns to help rebuild the country's shattered economy.
Egypt's political turmoil that began with the ouster of longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011 has ruined its economy, affecting tourist revenues and investments in particular.
Fadel Fahmy and Australian Peter Greste were each sentenced to seven years, while their colleague producer Baher Mohamed was handed 10 years in a decision that drew international condemnation and sparked fears of growing media restrictions in Egypt.
Eleven other co-defendants were given 10-year sentences in absentia, including one Dutch journalist and two Britons.
Since the army ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, the Egyptian authorities have been incensed by Al-Jazeera's coverage of their deadly crackdown on his supporters.
They consider the pan-Arab satellite network as the voice of Qatar, and accuse Doha of backing Morsi's Brotherhood, while the emirate openly denounces the repression of the Islamist supporters.
Australia and the United States are leading calls for Sisi to pardon the journalists, although the new Egyptian leader has said authorities would not interfere with the justice system.
Since Morsi's ouster last July, political unrest has reached unprecedented levels in Egypt, with more than 1,400 people killed and at least 15,000 jailed in a government crackdown.