Malaysian opposition leader wins claim against British paper

23 Oct 2007, 1:18 am

Updated 13 years ago


The head of Malaysia's main Islamic opposition party has won damages from a British newspaper after it mistakenly described him as an Al-Qaeda leader and a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay.

Abdul Hadi Awang, president of the Pan-Malaysia Islamic Party (PAS), will receive 500,000 ringgit (148,000 dollars) in compensation from the Daily Mirror, his political secretary Syed Azman Syed Ahmad told AFP Tuesday.

"He received about half a million ringgit and an open apology from the Daily Mirror. They admitted their mistake," Syed Azman said.

He said the PAS leader was still in London to finalise the settlement.

The British tabloid published Abdul Hadi Awang's picture in an article on May 1 about a terrorist plot to blow up the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent.

It described him as being the third-in-command of Al-Qaeda and said he had since been captured and detained at Guantanamo Bay.

In the apology reproduced on its website, the Daily Mirror said: "This is incorrect and the photograph was published in error. Our article intended to refer to a completely different person, Abdul Hadi al Iraqi."

"Mr Awang is not and has never been a member of Al Qaeda ... Mr Awang has never been so much as questioned or arrested in connection with terrorism, or held in Guantanamo Bay," it said.