Gwent AM in line for damages over Urdu paper article
1:40pm Friday 20th December 2013 in News
A GWENT politician could receive tens of thousands of pounds in damages from a London newspaper over an article which alleged his position in society had been “lowered” after he took part in a religious procession, a civil court heard yesterday.
Mohammad Asghar, Conservative AM for South Wales East, was the subject of a front page article published in print and online in Urdu in the Nawaijang newspaper in January 2012.
Mr Asghar, who won the case, told Cardiff Justice Centre it claimed he was subject to an injunction preventing him from entering any mosque in the UK, following a disagreement with Newport’s Muslim community.
But the injunction only applied to prayers at a single Newport mosque, explained William Bennett, representing Mr Asghar, so it did not amount to a ban.
Mr Asghar said the injunction had only been in place for a few days and had been lifted by the time the article was published.
David Leathley, representing the newspaper’s parent company Nawaijang Ltd, its director Nadia Tufuil and her husband Asif Suleem Muhammad, said the article accused Mr Asghar of paying for three imams to go on an all-inclusive trip to Saudi Arabia.
“I have enough money to pay for this and I do send people, not every year,” Mr Asghar said, adding that he had done nothing wrong by the rules of the Welsh Assembly.
The article said people claimed Mr Asghar was seen at a Shia Muslim procession, said Mr Leathley, to which Mr Ashgar replied: “One day a year, all Shia people go through the city and they are my constituents, so I go.
“In the article it says I have lowered myself by attending the procession,” said Mr Asghar. “This is a serious offence in the eyes of other Muslims, stating that I have lowered myself. I am there to put communities together.”
One of the men who went on the trip to Saudi Arabia, Abdul Rahman Mujahid, told the court that after the article was published, people no longer trusted him.
Mr Leathley said the defendants had not received legal advice and admitted their case was “a mess”, but claimed that “the published libel was in fact true”.
Mr Bennett said the couple, who have previously appeared in civil court in connection to the case, had not paid civil court costs totalling more than £1,200 and did not set out a translation of the article when given the opportunity. when given the opportunity.
Judge Milwyn Jarman QC said he would reserve judgement on the amount of damages, but placed a three-year injunction on the Nawaijang newspaper preventing them from re-publishing the contents of the article.
Comments are closed on this article.