Jazeera reporter sues own channel over ‘negligence’
CAIRO - An Al-Jazeera journalist on retrial in Egypt has sued his Qatari employer for $100 million, his lawyers said on Monday, claiming the satellite network was negligent and supported blacklisted Islamists.
Canadian Mohamed Fahmy and two other Al-Jazeera journalists were sentenced last year to up to 10 years in prison on charges of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood movement in its coverage of mass protests that led to the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.
An appeals court later ordered a retrial, saying the lower court's verdict was not supported by evidence.
One defendant, Australian Peter Greste, has already been deported under a law allowing the transfer of foreigners on trial to their home countries.
Fahmy and his Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed were freed on bail ahead of their retrial.
On Monday, Fahmy's Canadian lawyer Joanna Gislason said at a Cairo news conference that her client had now filed a case of "negligence" against the channel in a Canadian court.
Fahmy has demanded "100 million dollars for his detention and conviction" from the network, she told reporters.
The three journalists were arrested in December 2013 during a crackdown on supporters of Morsi, who was ousted by then army chief and now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi after mass protests against his sole year of divisive rule.
Their first trial came against the backdrop of strained ties between Egypt and Qatar, which supported Morsi.
Egypt's authorities charged the three with spreading "false news" during their coverage of demonstrations, and also said they were working without valid accreditation.
In a statement read out at the news conference, Fahmy accused the network's now closed Egyptian channel, Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr, of aiding the Muslim Brotherhood.
"Al-Jazeera Mubasher was a sponsor for the Muslim Brotherhood and its equipment was used by Muslim Brotherhood activists across the country," said Fahmy, who has given up his Egyptian citizenship to facilitate his deportation to Canada.
Al-Jazeera Mubasher was "not just biased, but was a sponsor for the Muslim Brotherhood", he said.
"Al-Jazeera is one of the foreign arms of Qatar."
Fahmy's Egyptian lawyer Mohamed Hamouda said his client had chosen Canada to file the lawsuit because "he is seen as a traitor in Egypt" since surrendering his citizenship.
"He is negatively perceived. That's why he filed the case in Canadian courts," Hamouda said.