21:46 GMT +319 August 2019
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    Former leader and founder of the English Defence League, Tommy Robinson seen on screen, as he addresses an EDL protest over a TV program, outside the BBC building in Salford, England, Saturday Feb. 23, 2019.

    Tommy Robinson Facing Libel Action Over Syrian Schoolboy Posts

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    Footage of the boy being pushed to the ground at his Huddersfield school and having water poured on his face was widely criticized last year. The 16-year-old perpetrator was charged with assault at a youth court last month.

    Tommy Robinson is being threatened with libel action by lawyers representing a 15-year-old Syrian refugee — identified as ‘Jamal' — who was reportedly attacked at school by a gang of bullies.

    Robinson — real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon — posted a series of videos and Facebook posts about the incident after it went viral, claiming Jamal's assault was motivated by the boy previously attacking three schoolgirls and a boy, although the mother of one of the schoolgirls has specifically denied Jamal was responsible for the attack. Facebook deleted much of the content for violating community standards, and Robinson has now received a letter seeking to sue him for defamation — members of the public donated US$13,630 (£10,300) to help fund the legal action.

    Robinson posted a series of videos on his Facebook account accusing Jamal of bullying and saying "lots of Muslim gangs are beating up white English kids" in Britain. Robinson's Facebook page had more than 1 million followers and the posts on the Huddersfield incident were viewed up to 900,000 times each.

    "What has gone out to him is a ‘letter before action', a document which sets out Jamal's claim against him for defamation and breach of GDPR [data protection] rules. Mr Lennon has 14 days to respond either with an offer to settle that is acceptable to Jamal or with notification he intends to defend this claim. If he fails to respond within the timeframe, we are instructed to issue proceedings against him in court. Our submission is Robinson engaged in defamation of our client and these claims were repeated numerous times across the world," said Tasnime Akunjee, the solicitor representing Jamal and his family.

    The legal team further claim Robinson's allegations led to threats against Jamal and his family, forcing them to move home.

    On 26 February Robinson was permanently banned from Facebook and Instagram for repeatedly breaking the social network's policies on hate speech, including calling for violence against people based on protected characteristics; rules banning supporting or appearing with organised hate groups; and policies preventing people from using the site to bully others.


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    defamation, legal action, islam, censorship, Instagram, Facebook, Tommy Robinson, Syria, United Kingdom
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