An Al Jazeera English journalist on retrial in Egypt for supporting a terrorist group is suing his network for $100 million, his lawyer announced on Monday. Mohamed Fahmy sued the Al Jazeera network for punitive damages for negligence and breach of contract.
Fahmy’s lawyers, Joanna Gislason and Gary Caroline, announced in a news conference in Cairo that they filed the lawsuit in the British Columbia Supreme Court in Canada on May 5.
Fahmy and two other journalists, Peter Greste and Baher Mohammad, were held in Egypt for 400 days and were charged for their association with a terrorist militant group, the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood was declared a terrorist outfit by the Egyptian government after President Mohammad Morsi was ousted in July 2013.
The journalists were accused of threatening Egypt’s national security and broadcasting false news among other offenses, according to CNN.
The trio was arrested in Cairo in Dec 2013. They were found guilty of the crimes in June 2014, and were subsequently sentenced to seven years in prison.
In February this year, a retrial was ordered.
According to ABC World Today program, Fahmy said he was suing Al Jazeera “because they deceived us, they were negligent and they lied to us and they need to pay for hurting me and my team.”
“Just two weeks ago in the cage, me and Baher (Mohamed) were shocked to see the prosecutor present documents proving that Al Jazeera did not have the proper transmission and broadcast licenses – that is unacceptable,” Fahmy added.
Gislason spoke at a Cairo news conference that a case of negligence had been filed against Al Jazeera in a Canadian Court. Fahmy was seeking “$US100 million ($127 million) for his detention and conviction” from the network, she added.
Prosecutors will begin their closing arguments in Fahmy’s retrial on June 1, as reported by The Guardian. He is being retried alongside Baher. Greste, the third journalist, was deported to Australia after being released from jail. He will be tried in absentia.
Fahmy also sought deportation by giving up his Egyptian passport. However, he only earned a temporary Canadian passport at the end of April.
Mohamed Hamouda, Fahmy’s Egyptian lawyer, said that “[Fahmy] is seen as a traitor in Egypt” ever since he gave up his citizenship, and therefore has decided to file the suit in Canada.
Hamouda added, “He is negatively perceived. That’s why he filed the case in Canadian courts.”
An Al Jazeera spokesman said, “It’s sad to see Fahmy and his lawyer repeating criticisms of Al Jazeera made by the Egyptian authorities.
“It’s what his captors want to hear at this stage of the retrial. All governments have news outlets they don’t like, but they don’t use spurious grounds to put journalists in jail.
“If Fahmy wants to seek monetary compensation from anyone, it should be from his jailers.”
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