Al Jazeera journalist sues employer for negligence: lawyer

Mon May 11, 2015 11:37am EDT
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CAIRO (Reuters) - An Al Jazeera television journalist on trial in Egypt has filed a lawsuit in a Canadian court accusing his employer of negligence and has demanded $100 million in compensation, his lawyer said on Monday.

Mohamed Fahmy, who spent more than 400 days in a Cairo jail on charges of aiding a terrorist organization, suggested Al Jazeera's actions landed him in jail. Al Jazeera had no immediate comment.

Fahmy and another Al Jazeera journalist, Baher Mohamed, were originally sentenced to seven to 10 years in prison on charges that included spreading lies to help a "terrorist organization", a reference to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Peter Greste, an Australian colleague who was sentenced with them, was freed and deported earlier this year. All three denied the charges. In January, a court ordered a retrial, citing procedural flaws.

Fahmy is a naturalized Canadian who gave up his Egyptian citizenship.

At a news conference in Cairo, Fahmy's lawyer, Joanna Gialason, said the lawsuit asks the court to declare Al Jazeera negligent in its conduct toward Fahmy. It says the network should pay $100 million in punitive and remedial damages for its role in Fahmy's conviction and subsequent imprisonment.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's human rights record has come under scrutiny since he, as army chief, toppled the Islamist Mohamed Mursi as President in 2013 after mass protests against his rule.

A crackdown launched thereafter resulted in hundreds killed and thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members put in jail.

Sisi has said that he wished the Al Jazeera journalists had been deported and not put on trial.

(Reporting by Stephen Kalin; Writing by Yara Bayoumy; Editing by Michael Georgy and Larry King)

Al-Jazeera television journalists Mohamed Fahmy (L) and Baher Mohamed are seen at a court in Cairo after their retrial,  April 22, 2015. REUTERS/Shadi Bushra