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Wed 3 Aug 2011 06:48 PM

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Saudi prince wins UK paper libel damages

Interior minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz al Saud will give 'substantial' sum to charity

Saudi prince wins UK paper libel damages
Saudi prince wins UK paper libel damages
The Independent, British newspaper

A top Saudi Arabia official has won "substantial" libel damages against a UK newspaper after it printed allegations that he ordered police to shoot demonstrators during the Arab uprisings earlier this year.

Independent Print Ltd, publishers of The Independent newspaper, and its Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk expressed "sincere apologies" at London's High Court over claims made against Prince Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz al Saud, the BBC reported on Wednesday.

The newspaper said allegations that the prince had ordered police to fire on protesters were published "in good faith" but accepted they had turned out to be untrue and based on a forgery.

Prince Nayef, interior minister since 1970, said he would pay the undisclosed sum of money he received to charity, the report added.

On April 15, The Independent published a feature article about the Arab Spring headlined "A long time coming", in which Fisk claimed the prince had given police the order.

The BBC said Rupert Earle, appearing for the prince, told Mrs Justice Nicola Davies the untruthful allegations arose after Saudi Shia activists sought to organise a demonstration on 11 March.

Several websites featured an order allegedly issued by Prince Nayef saying demonstrators "should be shown no mercy, should be struck with iron fists, and that it was permitted for all officers and personnel to use live rounds," said Earle.

But the 'order' was a fake, Earle told the court.

"The defendants now accept that there is no truth in the allegation that the claimant had issued an order to police chiefs throughout Saudi Arabia to shoot and kill unarmed demonstrators without mercy, or that he therefore deserves to be investigated by the International Criminal Court for a crime against humanity," the BBC quoted him as saying.

The Independent's lawyer Helen Morris said Fisk's reference to the order was "made in good faith, albeit in the mistaken belief that the order was genuine."

A correction published on May 4 by The Independent said: "Prince Nayef has responded that the order is a forgery, was not issued by him and that he would never issue such an order."

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abdul hafeez sheikh 9 years ago

There is Islamaic law in KSA and all the rulers follow the laws of KSA . The prince has not made such remarks as in Islam it is Haram to shoot or kill any unarmed person .The allegation is based on lies and is intended to defame government of KSA .

Asma 9 years ago

There were many NEWS in early days of Arab revolution, against current regimes in Arab lands, many of them were fake and just a negative PR against Arab countries, Specially in UK.

UK's media always try to show that they are the monopolist of humanity.

Yousef Mahmoud 9 years ago

Abdul-Hafeez: I am sorry to disappoint you. Your statement is true about Islam , but obviously your are mixing between Saudi and Islam, they are two different things ( and sometimes : they are opposites)

zxc 9 years ago

Well said Asma.

This is very true. The UK & Western Media & people in general assume that they are very righteous and hold the monopoly for humanity. In reality, they are the worst criminals as has been witnessed over the last 500 yrs or more. If you want proof, read about the "Opium Wars, The Great Game, Anhilination of the Native Indians in America's" The most recent act of hypocricy and aggression being the infamous saga of the WMD's in Iraq. What more can you say.