Syria envoy sues France 24

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Syria's ambassador to France has lodged an official complaint against the news channel France 24 accusing it of misinformation, the state-run SANA news agency reported Friday.

Lamia Shakkur filed the complaint to the Paris public prosecutor on Wednesday "for broadcasting false information," the Syrian embassy in France said in a statement carried by SANA.

Shakkur decided to take legal action after the French broadcaster was embroiled in a hoax earlier this month, involving a woman posing as Shakkur announcing on air her resignation in protest at the violence in Syria.

The woman who spoke on France 24 on June 7 said she had submitted her immediate resignation to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad because "I cannot support the cycle of violence."

"I recognise the legitimacy of the people's demands for more democracy and freedom," she added.

The next day Shakkur appeared on France's BFM television to set the record straight, denying she was quitting her job and saying the France 24 broadcast was hoax.

"I accuse France 24 of identity fraud," Shakkur told BFM.

"I will bring a complaint to convict France 24 for these acts of misinformation, which are part of a campaign of false information against Syria since March 2011," she added.

France 24 announced on June 9 that it was taking legal action for the on-air ambassador hoax.

"France 24 has officially filed a complaint to the Paris public prosecutor regarding identity theft and impersonation," the channel said in a statement.

Nearly 1,300 civilians, including dozens of children, have been killed in a security crackdown against anti-government protests that erupted in Syria in March.

© 2011 AFP

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