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Stratford MP wins libel case against oil trade article

Laura Kearns 20th Dec, 2016

NADHIM Zahawi has won a libel case after a ‘deeply upsetting’ article implied he facilitated the trade of oil between terrorist organisation Isis and Israel.

The Stratford MP won the High Court defamation case against Press TV, which is funded by the Iranian government.

The broadcaster posted an article about the MP on July 15 which suggested he illegally organised the trade of oil.

Mr Zahawi – who is of Kurdish background and was born in Iraq before coming to the UK when he was a young boy – says the article was ‘seriously untrue and damaging’.

The Iranian broadcaster did not defend the action.

The High Court in London will rule on damages and costs at a later hearing.

Mr Zahawi 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 ISIL was seemingly unbelievable. The accusation was clearly calculated to be as damaging as possible to someone from my background.

“Despite having no basis in anything close to reality – except for my having been born in Iraq – rumours spread like wildfire on social media and clearly some people believed them.

“In my role as a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, I have often spoken out against the malign influence Iran has so often chosen to exercise in international affairs. But it was extremely upsetting, worrying and unexpected to have been targeted by a foreign government in this way.

“This has been a deeply upsetting experience for me. I hope that this libel judgement can draw a line under this episode, and deter outlets such as Press TV from attempting this sort of attack on anyone again.”

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