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Jailed Al Jazeera Journalist Asks Twitter If He Should Lose His Egyptian Citizenship To Be Set Free

Mohamed Fahmy, an Egyptian-Canadian Al Jazeera journalist, could be freed and deported after 400 days in jail but would be stripped of his Egyptian citizenship, government officials said.

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Mohamed Fahmy, an Egyptian-Canadian national, is one of three Al Jazeera journalists arrested in 2013 on charges of spreading false news.

AP / Heba Elkholy

Al-Jazeera journalists Baher Mohamed, left, Mohammed Fahmy, center, and Peter Greste, right, appear in court during their trial in Cairo on March 31, 2014.

Another of the three, Peter Greste, an Australian national, was freed and deported on Sunday. Officials said Fahmy could also be released if he agrees to relinquish his Egyptian nationality and be deported to Canada.

AP / Tertius Pickard

Peter Greste's parents and brother celebrate at a press conference in Brisbane, Australia, on Feb. 2.

Fahmy’s Twitter account is currently run by his friends and family, who often tweet on his behalf. On Sunday, his account posed the following question:

Polling: Would you drop your nationality for freedom? Is the identity confined to a piece of paper? @MFFahmy11 #FreeAJStaff

Mohamed Fadel Fahmy@MFFahmy11Follow

Polling: Would you drop your nationality for freedom? Is the identity confined to a piece of paper? @MFFahmy11 #FreeAJStaff

9:40 PM - 01 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

Egyptians pointed out what a hard decision Fahmy faced.

My thoughts go to my friend @MFFahmy11 more than ever as he is put in the position of having to drop his Egyptian nationality to be free

Soraya Bahgat@SorayaBahgatFollow

My thoughts go to my friend @MFFahmy11 more than ever as he is put in the position of having to drop his Egyptian nationality to be free

6:17 AM - 02 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

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@MFFahmy11 @paulmasonnews Shouldn't have to make the choice

Graham B19052012@zolawasgodFollow

@MFFahmy11 @paulmasonnews Shouldn't have to make the choice

12:35 AM - 02 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

Mohammed fahmy gives up his Egyptian nationality in order to be set free just to keep himself alive ! We've officially hit the rock bottom

دُنيا@HassaniiinFollow

Mohammed fahmy gives up his Egyptian nationality in order to be set free just to keep himself alive ! We've officially hit the rock bottom

2:26 AM - 02 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

Some of Fahmy's supporters told him he should go for the deal, and that his nationality wasn't determined simply by official documents.

@MFFahmy11 It is the regime's fault not yours. Love for your country isn't determined by a piece of paper. This is a crime committed by Sisi

ECCD-CECD@EgyCanDemocracyFollow

@MFFahmy11 It is the regime's fault not yours. Love for your country isn't determined by a piece of paper. This is a crime committed by Sisi

11:58 PM - 01 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

@MFFahmy11 yes, national identity is irrelevant and made by colonial rules, we should get rid of it.

Neepa@neepachilliFollow

@MFFahmy11 yes, national identity is irrelevant and made by colonial rules, we should get rid of it.

1:13 AM - 02 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

But others felt he should persevere and keep his Egyptian nationality.

@MFFahmy11 no one is in ur shoes..dropping nationality is not just ur papers the whole image won't be good ur egyptian passport is ur right

Ахмед☆☆@AhmedHaniHamadaFollow

@MFFahmy11 no one is in ur shoes..dropping nationality is not just ur papers the whole image won't be good ur egyptian passport is ur right

9:58 PM - 01 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

A lawyer for Fahmy told BuzzFeed News that his client was still considering his options.

Fahmy, Greste, and Baher Mohammed were arrested in December 2013 and sentenced to 7–10 years in prison after being convicted of spreading false news and collaborating with the banned Muslim Brotherhood movement in Egypt. The men say they were simply reporting the news and that their trial was a sham. The case sparked international outrage and a social media campaign based around the hashtag #FreeAJStaff.

While the Australian government long pressed for Greste's release, and the Canadian government confirmed that Fahmy had legal citizenship there, Baher Mohammed is an Egyptian national with no second passport. It was unclear Monday if Mohammed could be granted honorary citizenship of a country that would allow for his deportation.

Shyamantha Asokan is a foreign news reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Shyamantha Asokan at shyamantha.asokan@buzzfeed.com.

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