A UK court has ordered The Independent newspaper to pay Prince Naif, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior of Saudi Arabia, libel damages over an article which accused him of ordering Police Chiefs to shoot and kill unarmed demonstrators during this year's Arab uprisings.
The Independent Print Ltd. and its Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk both offered their “sincere apologies” at London’s High Court, saying that there was no truth to the claim.
Lawyer Rupert Earle said his client Prince Naif will donate the damages, which he described only as "substantial," to a charity.
The newspaper said allegations that the Prince had ordered police to fire on protesters were published “in good faith” but accepted they had turned out to be untrue and based on a forgery.
On April 15, The Independent published a feature article about the Arab Spring headlined “A long time coming,” in which Fisk claimed the Prince had ordered Police Chiefs “to shoot and kill unarmed demonstrators without mercy.” Fisk said the order was “extraordinary and outrageous” and should be investigated by the International Criminal Court at The Hague.
The Prince's lawyer told Justice Nicola Davies the claims derived from a fake “order” published online as protesters in Saudi Arabia were planning a demonstration in March.
A correction published on May 4 by The Independent said: “Prince Naif has responded that the order is a forgery, was not issued by him and that he would never issue such an order.”
Source: Arab News