A Birmingham baker, wrongly linked by several newspapers to the plot to blow up trans-Atlantic passenger aircraft with liquid bombs, today accepted “substantial libel damages” and a public apology at London’s High Court.
The Guardian, the Daily Mail, the Times, and local newspapers the Birmingham Mail, the Birmingham Post and the Sunday Mercury, all published articles which “suggested that there were reasonable grounds to suspect” that Abdul Rauf, of Ward End, Birmingham, was involved in funding the alleged plot, his solicitor, Isabel Hudson, told Mr Justice Gray today.
“Certain of the articles suggested that Mr Rauf had been arrested in connection with the alleged plots, whether in Pakistan or in England,” she said.
“These allegations were untrue. As the defendant newspaper publishers all now acknowledge, Mr Rauf has never been arrested nor detained by police on suspicion of involvement in the â€šÃ„Ã²liquid bombs’ plot, or for that matter any other alleged terrorist plots or activities, and thee are no grounds for suspecting any such involvement.
“These articles caused Mr Rauf significant embarrassment and distress at a time of particularly heightened sensitivity in relations within the Muslim community.”
She said that publishers Guardian Newspapers Ltd, Associated Newspapers Ltd, Times Newspapers Ltd and Trinity Mirror plc had agreed to pay Mr Rauf “substantial libel damages” as well as his legal costs.
Julian Darrall, solicitor for the publishers, added: “The defendants apologise to Mr Rauf for the distress and embarrassment he has suffered as a result of the publication of the false allegations contained in the articles complained of.”
Mr Rauf owns a bakery and cake distribution business in Birmingham.