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Canadian journalist on retrial in Egypt sues Al Jazeera

Recently released Mohamed Fahmy says he is suing his Doha-based employer over ‘negligence’, accuses it of ties to Brotherhood
File photo shows Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy after his release from Egyptian prison in February (AFP)

Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy is suing his employer Al Jazeera after he was held in Egyptian custody for over a year, his lawyer announced Monday.

At a news conference in Cairo, Fahmy’s Canadian lawyer Joanna Gislason said Fahmy had filed a case of “negligence” against the satellite network.

Fahmy is demanding “$100 million for his detention and conviction” from Al-Jazeera, Gislason told reporters.

He also accused the channel’s Egyptian station, Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr, of directly aiding the Muslim Brotherhood movement.

“Al Jazeera Mubasher was a sponsor of the Muslim Brotherhood and its equipment was used by Muslim Brotherhood activists across the country,” Fahmy said at the news conference.

He said the Egyptian channel was “not just biased, but was a sponsor for the Muslim Brotherhood,” the Guardian quoted Fahmy as saying.

“Al Jazeera is one of the foreign arms of Qatar,” he added.

Last year, Egyptian authorities arrested Fahmy and two other Al Jazeera reporters – Egyptian Baher Mohamed and Australian Peter Greste - on charges of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood movement, which is banned in Egypt.

The three journalists were released in February, with Greste being deported and soon after Mohamed and Fahmy were released on bond for a retrial. The fifth hearing for their retrial has been postponed until 1 June.

Fahmy had dual Egyptian-Canadian citizenship, but renounced his Egyptian citizenship in order to facilitate his deportation to Canada.

Al Jazeera has recently been experiencing a spate of bad tidings. On Wednesday, senior sources at the network told Middle East Eye that Al Jazeera America’s chief executive officer, Ehab al-Shihabi, had been fired.

The week before, Al Jazeera America was hit with a $15 million wrongful termination lawsuit that claimed a senior executive repeatedly expressed an anti-American, anti-Semitic and anti-female bias. On 4 May, another top executive stepped down.

Days before being sacked, al-Shihabi denied the accusations in a statement, saying: “Al Jazeera America does not tolerate any discriminatory conduct and we take great pride in the diversity of our organisation and its leadership."