Socialist Worker

Nazi Tommy Robinson loses libel case brought by Syrian teenager

Issue No. 2765

Tommy Robinson is a Nazi who tries to mask his views behind appeals to free speech

Tommy Robinson is a Nazi who tries to mask his views behind appeals to "free speech"


Fascist Tommy Robinson has lost a libel case brought against him by a Syrian teenager who was filmed being attacked at school.

The founder of the English Defence League (EDL) was sued by Jamal Hijazi. He was assaulted in the playground at Almondbury community school in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, in October 2018.

A video of the incident went viral. Shortly afterwards Robinson claimed in two Facebook videos that Jamal was “not innocent and he violently attacks young English girls in his school”.

At a four-day trial in April, Jamal’s lawyers said Robinson’s comments had “a devastating effect” on the schoolboy and his family. They had come to Britain as refugees from Homs, Syria.

Robinson, who represented himself, argued his comments were substantially true.

However, in a judgment delivered on Thursday, the judge ruled in Jamal’s favour and granted him £100,000 in damages.

Robinson was also ordered to pay the costs of the libel action, but will not have to pay any money immediately as he is currently bankrupt.

The judge said Robinson’s case “fell woefully short”, and he had even added further allegations during the legal proceedings.

Catrin Evans QC, representing Jamal, previously said that Robinson’s comments led to the teenager “facing death threats and extremist agitation”. She argued that he should receive damages of between £150,000 and £190,000.

During the trial, Evans described Robinson as “a well-known extreme right advocate” with an “anti-Muslim agenda”.

The truth about Tommy Robinson
The truth about Tommy Robinson
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In 2017 he said that “militias will be set up and then the UK government will have a problem beyond their wildest dreams”.

“Inaction will only facilitate the creation of a disgruntled, angry population, who will end up cleaning out this Islamic problem,” he said.

On 3 September 2011 Robinson said Muslims would “feel the full force of the English Defence League” in Tower Hamlets, east London.

“We are here to tell you quite loud, quite clear, every single Muslim, watching this video on YouTube,” he said. “On 7/7 you got away with killing and maiming British citizens.

“Next time you think about it, you better understand that we have built a network from one bit of the country to the other end.”

Speaking after the Thursday's ruling, Jamal's lawyers said it had taken great courage for him to pursue the case.

“We are delighted that Jamal has been entirely vindicated,” said Francesca Flood from Burlingtons Legal.

“Jamal and his family now wish to put this matter behind them in order that they can get on with their lives. They do however wish to extend their gratitude to the great British public for their support and generosity, without which this legal action would not have been possible.”

Verdict 

The verdict comes on the 10th anniversary of a mass murder by Nazi Anders Breivik, who looked to Robinson’s EDL as “an example”.

Breivik killed 77 people on 22 July 2011 in Oslo and at a summer camp of the Norwegian Labour Party’s youth wing.

Robinson praised Breivik’s blogs as “full of facts” in an interview with the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet.

He said, “You cannot yell at people because they tell the truth. You may find the truth hurts, but it is still the truth.”

A further hearing will follow Thursday’s judgment to consider the consequences of the ruling.

 


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