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Palestine rights group prosecutes Israel lobby organisation for publishing defamatory articles

Director of Al-Haq Institution for Human Rights, Sha’wan Jabarin

A Palestinian Human Rights group is taking legal action against the Centre for Information and Documentation Israel (CIDI) for publishing content that shields Israeli government policies and encourages hostility towards Palestinian civil society organisations documenting Israeli rights violations.

Shawan Jabarin, General Director of Human Rights group, Al-Haq, filed the complaint yesterday at the Dutch Public Prosecutor's Office to hold CIDI accountable for slander and libel due to the three articles published on CIDI's website in May and June 2022.

In a press release, Al-Haq explained that this legal action consists of two steps, which will issue CIDI with a liability notice ordering it to withdraw and rectify the three articles, which contain multiple defamatory allegations and factual errors.

The articles claim that Al-Haq is involved in terrorism, which Al-Haq describes as "a grave accusation and legally comparable to complicity in murder."

Moreover, Al-Haq found dozens of other articles published by CIDI during the past years, which it perceives as inciting harassment against Palestinian civil society organisations and de-legitimising their work of defending human rights and holding Israel accountable for grave and systematic violations of international law, including war crimes and crimes against humanity.

READ: Palestine rights group accuses Israel of 'mafia methods' as UN hearings open

Al-Haq warned that CIDI is effectively encouraging the aggressive Israeli government-led campaign aimed at silencing Palestinian civil society and human rights defenders.

The human rights organisation commissioned Dutch lawyer, Brechtje Vossenberg, to prosecute CIDI, a lobby organisation based in the Netherlands.

It comes after Al-Haq told a UN panel last month it had been subject to threats and "mafia methods" during a campaign of harassment organised by Israel to silence groups documenting alleged Israeli rights violations, Reuters reports.

Israel dismissed the process overseen by the panel as a sham, while it declined comment on the specific allegations.

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