Al Jazeera sues Egypt over arrests of journalists, including Mohamed Fahmy

CAIRO -- Al-Jazeera is suing Egypt over its crackdown on the Qatar-owned broadcaster's activists and reporters, including Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy, following the 2013 overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

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The network said Wednesday in a statement posted online that it had "no other option" but taking legal action through the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in Washington DC. It said the move came months after Cairo declined to respond to the network's complaints.

The network says Egyptian authorities have caused it to incur losses of $150 million.

Egyptian government spokesman Hossam Qawish declined to comment, saying authorities haven't seen the report.

Al-Jazeera was widely seen as a mouthpiece for Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood group. After his 2013 overthrow, Egypt revoked Al-Jazeera's press credentials, raided its offices and arrested several reporters.

"A large number of journalists working for Al Jazeera were subjected to harassment, arrest and detention, either without charge or on clearly spurious and politically motivated charges," the statement said.

Fahmy and two of his colleagues -- Australian correspondent Peter Greste and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed -- were arrested in Cairo in December 2013 and accused of terror-related offences. The arrests and the trial sparked an international outcry.

They were sentenced to up to 10 years imprisonment in June 2014 on charges of affiliation with the Brotherhood -- now outlawed as a terrorist group -- and fabricating images to harm Egypt. All three were released last year.

Fahmy has filed a $100-million lawsuit against Al Jazeera Media Network, accusing the company of negligent conduct, negligent misrepresentation and breach of contract.

In its lawsuit against Egypt, Al-Jazeera detailed other violations, including attacks by soldiers, police and what it described as "gangs supporting the military government" in addition to the jamming of transmissions and broadcasts.

"Egypt's actions have placed it in clear breach of its obligations under the Qatar-Egypt Bilateral Investment Treaty," it said.

With files from The Canadian Press



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