The Marriott Cell: An Epic Journey from Cairo's Scorpion Prison to Freedom
Award-winning journalists' Mohamed Fahmy's and Carol Shaben's account of Fahmy's wrongful incarceration in Scorpion—Egypt's notorious maximum-security prison for terrorists and political leaders—is a riveting story of byzantine intrigue, a moving love story, and a battle for justice that provides a rare inside view of the world of Islamic fundamentalism that dominates our headlines.
On the night of December 29, 2013, in a dramatic raid on the Marriott Hotel, Egyptian security forces seized Fahmy, Bureau Chief of Al Jazeera's English news channel, and two of his colleagues, Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed, charging them as pro-Muslim Brotherhood terrorists, and with fabricating the news and undermining the security of the state. While the charges were internationally condemned as a travesty, and their trial become a global cause célèbre, Fahmy never stopped being a journalist. Incarcerated with Muslim Brotherhood leaders, Al Qaeda fighters, and ISIS sympathizers, he took advantage of the situation to "interview" them, gaining exclusive insight into their characters and the geopolitical politics of the region.
The Marriott Cell reads like a political thriller. But it is also a testament to the courage and critical importance of journalists today, and an inspiring sotry of two strong women: Fahmy's wife, Marwa Omara, who risked her own safety to secure his release, and his international human rights lawyer, Amal Clooney, who championed his battle for freedom.
Praise for The Marriott Cell
"[A] frightening account of his years of imprisonment, which should be a footnote in future history books on the jihadi struggle in the Middle East."
—Robert Fisk, The Independent (UK)
"[A] compelling and sensational account of [Fahmy's] imprisonment and his fight for freedom."
— The Hill Times
"Urgent, wise, readable, and at times very moving, the authors have successfully rebooted what has quickly become a stale Canadian mini-genre.....Apart from functioning as a stirring meoir and a deeply personal meditation on the nature of conjoined identities (every immigrant's bane), Fahmy's and Shaben's book also functions as one of the more concise histories of the Egyptian revolution I've yet read... The writing is lucid, and his reportorial nous never flags, even when terrible things are happening."
— Richard Poplak, The Globe and Mail
"[A] remarkable memoir... It's a gripping, compelling and insightful book... that takes us behind the headlines into what it was really like for Mr. Fahmy and those around him."
— Joseph Planta, founding editor of thecommentary.ca
"Mohamed Fahmy is a journalist's journalist."
— Ben Makuch, host of Cyberwar, Vice Canada
"In 2011, as Hosni Mubarak's government was being ousted in Egypt, ]Fahmy] was hired by CNN and won accolades for his fearless and tenacious work."
— Gloria Galloway, The Globe and Mail