Allegations of “torture” and “ban on visiting relatives” are false / FAZ has acted illegally / the principles of permissible reporting have not been observed / The MEK and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) have not been heard
Hamburg regional court upholds NCRI’s lawsuit against German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) for defamation against the MEK
- Hamburg Court orders FAZ to remove three false allegations against the MEK from its May 13, 2020 article entitled, “The Devil Should Be Living in Tirana.”
- It should be assumed that the allegations mentioned are untrue. “Even if these claims were stated as alleged, it is not evident that its principles were adhered to,” said the court.
After the lawsuit filed by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) against a series of slanderous and defamatory allegations in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), dated May 13, 2020, against the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK) and its members residing in Albania, a court in Hamburg ordered the newspaper to remove these false allegations posted in the online version of the paper and not repeat them.
The three false allegations published by FAZ which the lawsuit contested were as follows:
- “The defectors, humiliated as agents, report of torture and persecution within the Organization.
- “Members are forbidden from contacting their relatives and possessing mobile phones.
- With the help of the United Nations, the United States, and Saudi Arabia, the MEK flew to this Muslim country [Albania] in western Balkans by 2016.”
By way of an injunction, FAZ is ordered to pay “a fine of up to €250,000 to be determined by the court for each case of the offenses. If this amount cannot be secured, a detention order for up to a maximum of six months (for each item in place of the maximum fine of 250,000 Euros, for a total of a maximum of two years) will be issued.
According to the decision, FAZ must bear the court cost.
After the publication of this article on FAZ.net, the NCRI’s German Representative Office approached the editorial board of the paper and provided documents refuting those allegations in writing. But the paper only removed three blatant errors but kept the allegations above. Therefore, the NCRI filed a complaint against FAZ.
It is worthy of note that on March 21, 2019, the Hamburg court issued an injunction, ordering the German Magazine Der Spiegel to remove two similar defamatory allegations in its February 16, 2019 issue against the MEK and its members in Albania and not to repeat them. According to this decision, similar to the FAZ case, Der Spiegel was threatened with a fine up to €250,000 or up to six months’ imprisonment for each violation. Der Spiegel removed the relevant parts from the pdf version of the Magazine on its German and English websites.
National Council of Resistance of Iran – Representative Office in Germany
June 25, 2020