British-Kurdish MP wins legal case over fake claims of collaboration with ISIS

LONDON, United Kingdom – The British-Kurdish politician Nadhim Zahawi has won substantial damages in the High Court in London over bogus claims that he helped fund Daesh (ISIS).

Zahawi, who has been the MP for Stratford-on-Avon since 2010 and is the Conservative candidate for the seat in the current general election, won £200,000 in damages plus £138,000 in legal costs against Press TV and the UK-registered Press TV Ltd.

The network, which is linked with the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, carried an article in July 2015 claiming that Zahawi played a major role in Daesh's black market oil trade by purchasing crude oil from them and selling it to markets in Israel and Europe.

High Court Master Victoria McCloud said ".. Mr Zahawi has been wrongly associated by way of 'fake news' on the internet, with the consequence being very significant harm to his reputation."

Zahawi, who is an officer of the now formally dissolved all-party parliamentary group on the Kurdistan Region in Iraq, said: "The ludicrous allegation that I, while a Member of Parliament, had firstly betrayed all of my deepest held moral principles, and secondly had somehow managed to avoid international security services, and the law, to personally trade oil with Daesh, was of course completely untrue.

Given my background as an Iraqi-born British citizen, the false accusations were clearly calculated to be as damaging as possible on every level. Despite having no basis in anything close to reality, the allegations spread like wildfire on social media and clearly some people believed them.

I was forced to defend myself to family members, friends, my constituents, fellow MPs, Government whips, and both local and national media. It was a profoundly embarrassing and deeply upsetting experience for my family and me. 

In my role as a member the Foreign Affairs Committee, I have often spoken out against the malign influence Iran has so often chosen to exercise in international affairs. It was of particular note that the libellous article was published on the exact same day that I had publicly criticised Iran in Parliament. I hope that this libel judgment can draw a line under this episode and deter outlets such as Press TV, and by extension states such as Iran, from attempting this sort of attack on anyone again."

Zahawi told Rudaw: 'Politicians often receive robust criticism but this was entirely different - an exceptionally grave accusation, as the Judge said, and I think it is similar to someone of a Jewish background being accused of being a Nazi collaborator. I am intensely proud of my Kurdish background and being associated with its genocidal opponents was outrageous in the extreme.'

Gary Kent became the Director of the all-party parliamentary group on the Kurdistan Region in 2007 but the group has been formally dissolved for the duration of the UK general election. He writes in a strictly personal capacity. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Rudaw.

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British-Kurdish MP wins legal case over fake claims of collaboration with ISIS British-Kurdish MP wins legal case over fake claims of collaboration with ISIS Reviewed by Defense Alert on 07:28:00 Rating: 5

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