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London - Jewish Chronicle Pays £30,000 Libel Damages to Peace Activist

Published on: April 3, 2009 10:50 AM
By: guardian
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London - A peace activist today accepted £30,000 libel damages and an apology at the high court over false claims made in the Jewish Chronicle that he had harboured two suicide bombers.

Raphael Cohen instigated legal proceedings against the weekly paper after it published a letter in November 2008 alleging he had sheltered the bombers five days before they blew up a Tel Aviv bar.

Cohen’s solicitor, Stephen Loughrey, told Justice Eady the letter suggested that his client was knowingly involved in the “atrocious crime” that occurred in April 2003, when three people were killed and 50 injured.

Loughrey added that Cohen, who is a British citizen currently working as a lexicographer in Cairo, did not “harbour” the bombers.

The Jewish Chronicle, Loughrey said, now accepted the allegations were false and should never have been published.

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A British passport holder, Asif Mohammed Hanif, died in the attack on Mike’s Place on the Tel Aviv waterfront in April 2003. His accomplice, another British national, Omar Khan Sharif, escaped the scene but was found dead in the sea days later.

Loughrey admitted that Cohen had met the pair briefly by chance at a memorial ceremony held five days before the bombing. However, he added that his client did not know them and certainly had no idea, or grounds to suspect, that they planned such an attack.

The Jewish Chronicle apologized for the distress and embarrassment caused and agreed to pay Cohen undisclosed damages and legal costs.

Solicitor Lindsay Hodgkinson, acting on behalf of the Jewish Chronicle, said it welcomed the opportunity to set the record straight.

Cohen is donating a substantial proportion of the damages to charities concerned with providing humanitarian relief to the Palestinian people.



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