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Friday, July 25, 2014

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French court convicts Karsenty of defamation

Tags: International defamation France legal Philippe Karsenty
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Philippe Karsenty

PARIS — French media analyst Philippe Karsenty has been convicted of defamation for accusing French state television of doctoring a video showing the death of a Palestinian boy.

The Paris Court of Appeals, which had overturned Karsenty’s libel conviction in 2008, convicted Karsenty on Wednesday and fined him about $9,000 (u.s.) in his long-running case against the France 2 station.

Karsenty called the verdict “outrageous,” while a lawyer for France 2 said it was a victory for journalists, according to The Associated Press.

France 2 and its Israel correspondent, Charles Enderlin, sued Karsenty for defamation in 2004 following his claims that a video report by Enderlin on the killing of 12-year-old Mohammed al-Dura in Gaza in 2000 was doctored. Karsenty claimed the footage of al-Dura crouching with his father behind a barricade as bullets whizzed overhead was a hoax.

The footage became an icon of the second Palestinian intifadah.

Karsenty was convicted of libel in 2006, but the Paris Appeals Court overturned the verdict. Last year, France’s highest court overturned the Appeals Court verdict, which led to Wednesday’s decision.

In returning the case to the Appeals Court, the High Court said the Appeals Court had overstepped its bounds in ordering France 2 to send it the rushes of the report, according to the French news agency AFP.

Israel initially took responsibility for the shooting of al-Dura, but a subsequent investigation by its military found that the bullets likely came from Palestinian gunmen. Last month, an official Israeli government report concluded that al-Dura was not hit by Israeli gunfire and did not die in the exchange of fire.

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