Why Tommy Robinson is facing libel action

Far-right activist claimed Syrian teenager attacked at school had bullied young girls

Tommy Robinson
English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson
(Image credit: 2018 Getty Images)

Tommy Robinson is being threatened with a libel lawsuit by lawyers representing a Syrian boy who was filmed being attacked by other schoolboys.

In December, footage surfaced online of the 15-year-old Syrian, known only as Jamal, being “pushed to the ground at his Huddersfield school and having water poured on his face”, The Guardian reports.

The attack “attracted widespread condemnation, including from Theresa May”, the newspaper adds.

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But Robinson, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, used his social media accounts to accuse the teenager of “violently attacking” young girls, claiming “lots of Muslim gangs are beating up white English kids” in Britain.

The anti-Islam activist reposted a screenshot of a message on his Facebook page from a mother claiming her daughter had been bullied. The mother of the girl subsequently posted a message denying that Jamal was involved in the assault.

The boy’s family are now suing Robinson for defamation, with lawyers taking the “unusual step of hand-delivering the letter” after the former English Defence League leader “failed to respond to correspondence”, reports the Daily Mail.

Jamal’s solicitor, Tasnime Akunjee, said: “Our letter gives him two weeks to respond - hopefully, he’ll get lawyers to respond on his behalf. If we get no response or an unacceptable response then we are instructed to issue proceedings which is to take the matter to court in two weeks’ time.”

On a page raising money for the legal action, lawyer Abdulnaser Youssef wrote that the allegations made against Jamal had led to threats that forced him and his family to move.

“As a result of Lennon’s false remarks and their wide online circulation, Jamal became the focus of countless messages of hate and threats from the extreme rightwing,” Akunjee said.

“The police informed Jamal that there was an increased risk to the safety of he and his family; as a result, he and his family were forced to relocate.”

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