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Updated: Thu, 20 Feb 2014 03:06:22 GMT | By The Canadian Press, cbc.ca

Mohamed Fahmy, Canadian journalist in Egypt, trial starts



More than 50 news organizations have called on Egyptian authorities Monday to release Canadian-Egyptian journalist Mohammed Fahmy, jailed while working for Al-Jazeera English. Al Jazeera acting bureau chief in Egypt, Al-Jazeera has said the reporters were operating within the country legally and had no affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood, and that the channel is working for their release. Al Jazeera/CBC

More than 50 news organizations have called on Egyptian authorities Monday to release Canadian-Egyptian journalist Mohammed Fahmy, jailed while working for Al-Jazeera English. Al Jazeera acting bureau chief in Egypt, Al-Jazeera has said the reporters were operating within the country legally and had no affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood, and that the channel is working for their release. Al Jazeera/CBC

A trial is set to begin today for a Canadian journalist in Egypt who faces what his family calls a "ridiculous" set of charges.

Mohamed Fahmy was arrested at the end of December along with two colleagues while working for satellite news broadcaster Al Jazeera English.

The arrests were characterized as part of a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group which Egypt's military-backed government has branded a terrorist organization.

The Egyptian government has claimed Al Jazeera is biased towards the Brotherhood but the broadcaster says its journalists were just doing their jobs.

Fahmy faces several charges, including being part of a terrorist group — allegations his family and his employer have vigorously denied.

His brother says the family is worried but is trying to remain positive as the trial begins.

The trial marks what's believed to be the first time Egypt is prosecuting journalists on terrorism-related charges.

The Department of Foreign Affairs says Fahmy's case has been raised with Egyptian authorities.

But some critics have questioned why Ottawa hasn't made a strong public statement calling for Fahmy's release.

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