Mother of 'Jihadi John' sues Telegraph and Times over claims she knew but did not report terrorist's identity - Press Gazette

Mother of 'Jihadi John' sues Telegraph and Times over claims she knew but did not report terrorist's identity

The mother of Mohammed Emwazi – the Islamic State terrorist dubbed 'Jihadi John' – is suing The Daily Telegraph and The Times.

Ghanema Emwazi is taking legal action against the titles after they reported that she recognised her son from an IS video but did not tell the authorities.

In her claim forms, filed at London's High Court, she has denied the allegation.

Mohammed Emwazi has appeared in a series of Islamic State videos in which he has apparently murdered hostages.

In March, The Times, Telegraph and other UK titles reported that Ghanema Emwazi recognised her son after watching a video broadcast seven months earlier in which American journalist James Foley was apparently beheaded.

Several publications reported that she had "screamed 'that's my son'" when she saw the video and recognised his voice but did not inform the authorities.

Press Gazette understands that The Times and Telegraph have been targeted because they were among the first UK publications to report the news. Defences have not yet been filed in the High Court and neither publication has responded to a request for comment.

Press Gazette has seen that claims have been filed against both newspapers' publishers and obtained the Telegraph Media Group file.

Ghanema Emwazi, represented by Bindmans LLP, has taken issue with two Telegraph stories, one online and one in print, published on 2 and 3 March.

The Telegraph reported that the fact she had recognised her son in the video had emerged in "testimony given to Kuwaiti police by his father, Jassem" and quoted a "source familiar with the Kuwaiti investigation".

The Times, reported that the story came from an interview "under questioning… obtained by Kuwait's respected Al-Qabas newspaper".

In Emwazi’s claim form against the Telegraph, it is "inferred" that the newspaper published the story "in reliance on a false report published hours earlier… in Al Qabas".

Ghanema Emwazi's claim form stated that if she had been aware of the terrorist's identity she would have been "guilty of a serious criminal offence under the Terrorism Act".

The claim form criticised the Telegraph for not having “made any or any adequate attempt” to contact Ghanema Emwazi for comment. It said: “Had this been done, [she] would have stated (as is in fact the case) that she had never seen or heard the videos of Jihadi John and did not know or suspect that her son was Jihadi John until she was informed of media reports to that effect in late February 2015.”

The claim form also highlighted the fact that the Telegraph story was “repeated” elsewhere, by the Daily Mail, Mail Online, The Independent online and on its front page, the Daily Mirror online and in print, and The Sun online and in print.

The form also highlighted Twitter users who had tweeted about the story and commented on it. In addition, it made reference to readers' comments on The Times and Daily Star websites.

It said: “By reason of the publication of each of the [Telegraph] articles [Ghanema Emwazi] has been very seriously damaged in her character and reputation and has suffered considerable distress, anxiety, grave embarrassment and injury to her feelings.”

The Telegraph claim form seeks damages of up to £100,000 from the paper.




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