Ex-Al Jazeera journalist drops case against Doha-based network

Mohamed Fahmy has abandoned a multimillion-dollar legal case against Al Jazeera relating to detention in Egypt in 2013.

Mohamed Fahmy, a Canadian citizen of Egyptian origin, along with a group of journalists, was detained in Egypt in 2013 on charges of stoking unrest and publishing false news [File: Amr Nabil/AP Photo]
Mohamed Fahmy, a Canadian citizen of Egyptian origin, along with a group of journalists, was detained in Egypt in 2013 on charges of stoking unrest and publishing false news [File: Amr Nabil/AP Photo]

A former Al Jazeera journalist has dropped a legal case against the Doha-based media network more than four years after he accused the company of negligence.

Mohamed Fahmy was suing Al Jazeera for more than 100 million Canadian dollars ($75m) for neglect and endangering the lives of journalists working in Egypt. He said the network sent him to Cairo knowing that “it was guaranteed” he would be arrested.

Fahmy, a Canadian citizen of Egyptian origin, along with a group of journalists, was detained in Egypt in 2013 on charges of stoking unrest and publishing false news.

He and his nine colleagues were accused of spreading “false news” during their coverage of the aftermath of the military overthrow of then-President Mohamed Morsi in 2013, the year they were taken into custody.

Fahmy spent 437 days in jail before being released.

The Egyptian judge who sentenced the journalists said they were brought together “by the devil” to destabilise the country.

According to a report published by the New York Times, Fahmy received a substantial “loan” from the UAE’s ambassador to the United States, Yousef al-Otaiba, to cover his legal campaign against Al Jazeera following his release from prison in 2015.

After his release, Fahmy filed the complaint against Al Jazeera in September 2016 from Canada.

In a statement, an Al Jazeera spokesperson said on Wednesday: “Al Jazeera is committed to reporting the news without fear or favour and will always stand up for its journalists and the rights of all journalists to operate freely anywhere in the world without fear of arbitrary arrest, assault, prosecution or other forms of harassment and intimidation.

“Al Jazeera worked extremely hard to support Mr Fahmy and his colleagues after their arrest and throughout their trial and imprisonment in Egypt and was extremely disappointed when Mr Fahmy sought to transfer blame for the oppressive and unlawful actions of the Egyptian authorities onto the Network,” the statement read.

“That it is now clear that he did this in collaboration with a regime that is fundamentally opposed to free and independent journalism only heightens our sense of disappointment,” the statement added.

According to the Qatar-based network, once arrangements were in hand for Fahmy to be cross-examined on the claims he had placed on the record, he chose to “abandon the claim altogether before cross-examination took place”.

Al Jazeera is the focus of a dispute between Qatar and four Arab states, who severed all trade and diplomatic ties with Doha accusing it of supporting terrorism – an allegation Qatar has repeatedly and vehemently denied. 

In 2016, the four states – Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain – presented Qatar a list of 13 demands, which include the closure of Al Jazeera.

Source : Al Jazeera, News Agencies

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