Award-winning journalist Mohamed Fahmy presents his widely anticipated new book, The Marriot Cell, which offers an in-depth account of his wrongful incarceration in Cairo’s maximum-security Scorpion Prison for terrorists and political leaders, and his subsequent battle for justice. An important book that reads like a political thriller, The Marriot Cell is a testament to the critical importance of journalismtoday; an inspiring love story that made front-page news; and a profoundly personal drama of one man’s fight for freedom.
On the night of December 29, 2013, Egyptian security forces, in a dramatic raid on the Marriott Hotel, seized Fahmy (Canadian-Egyptian Bureau Chief for Al Jazeera English) and two of his colleagues, Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed, accusing them of fabricating news as members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
Their trials became a global cause célèbre condemned as a travesty. But Fahmy also never stopped being a journalist: inside Scorpion he found himself cheek by jowl with notorious Muslim Brotherhood leaders, Al Qaeda fighters, and ISIS sympathizers. Always intrepid, he took advantage of the situation to “interview” the Brotherhood about their aims, gaining exclusive insight into the geopolitical feuds between Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE on one hand and Qatar and its allies, including Turkey on the other—interviews that led him to sue his former employer, Al Jazeera, from prison. The complex power brokering of Middle Eastern and Western governments left three men trapped in a web he describes as “Global McCarthyism.”
In this exclusive unrestricted conversation, Simon Fraser University's Adel Iskandar engages Fahmy on a wide range of critical issues including revolution, incarceration, Al-Jazeera, Islamist politics, and press freedoms.