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February 26, 2018

Baroness Warsi wins £20,000 libel payout from Jewish News over article suggesting she excused actions of ISIS terrorists

By Freddy Mayhew

Tory peer Baroness Sayeeda Warsi has won “substantial” libel damages from Jewish News over an article that wrongly suggested she had sought to excuse the actions of Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists.

Jewish News has published a front page apology and agreed to pay Warsi £20,000 in damages, which she said she is donating to a handful of charities, as well as her legal costs.

The article, which was also published on Jewish News Online, was written by former army officer Colonel Richard Kemp.

It also claimed Warsi had objected to action being taken against British Muslims who murder and rape for the terror group, which the former Tory party chairman said was “untrue and offensive”.

Jewish News has accepted the allegations were “wholly untrue and should never have been published”, according to lawyers Carter-Ruck, acting for Warsi.

They said in a statement: “Baroness Warsi is utterly appalled by the actions of ISIS and all terror groups (indeed, she is widely reported to be on an ISIS death list herself) and has never said anything to remotely suggest otherwise.

“She also believes that ISIS fighters returning to the UK should face the full force of British law.”

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Warsi said the article was “widely shared online and on social media and caused a divisive debate” and that as a consequence she was “subjected to much abuse over a period of seven months”.

She added: “I am a passionate supporter of interfaith relations, and unfounded allegations such as the ones published by Colonel Kemp and Jewish News serve only to reinforce and inflame the divisions between communities.

“I indicated at the outset that an early apology and retraction could have brought this matter to an end – however, the contempt with which Jewish News dealt with the matter for the first six months forced my hand.

“I am pleased that they have now apologised and accepted that Colonel’s Kemp’s article was utterly false and should never have been published.”

She added: “I’m delighted that the damages which Jewish News have agreed to pay will be put to such good causes, including for women in both the Muslim and Jewish communities, so something good can emerge from this sorry episode.”

Press Gazette has contacted Jewish News for comment.

Picture: Reuters/Toby Melville

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