LONDON: A Syrian teenager who was filmed being bullied has won a libel case that he brought against British far-right activist Tommy Robinson, who had claimed the boy was violent toward girls at his school.
Jamal Hijazi, 17, who lives in the north of England but is a refugee from Homs, Syria, was filmed being attacked in school in October 2018.
In the video, boys assaulted him and “simulated waterboarding him,” an earlier court hearing was told.
Shortly after the video went viral, with Hijazi receiving broadly supportive responses, Robinson, 38, produced two of his own videos responding to the incident in which he claimed that the teenager was “not innocent and he violently attacks young English girls in his school.”
The English Defence League (EDL) founder’s videos were viewed by nearly a million people, and claimed that Hijazi “beat a girl black and blue” and “threatened to stab” another boy at the school — both claims that the Syrian teen denied.
The EDL is known for its Islamophobic views, which include rejecting the idea that a Muslim can be truly British, and viewing Islam as an expansionist movement seeking to take over Europe.
Hijazi received numerous death threats following Robinson’s accusations, and was forced to flee from his home.
In a judgment issued on Thursday, a court ruled in favor of Hijazi and granted him £100,000 ($137,805) in damages.
His lawyers had previously said Robinson’s comments had left Hijazi facing “death threats and extremist agitation,” and he should receive between £150,000 and £190,000 in damages.
Catrin Evans, representing Hijazi, described Robinson as “a well-known extreme-right advocate” with an anti-Muslim agenda who used social media to spread his extremist views.