Wales politics

Conservative AM and businessman each win £135,000 libel damages

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Media captionConservative assembly member Mohammad Asghar has won £135,000 in libel damages

A Conservative assembly member and a Newport businessman have each won £135,000 in libel damages from an Urdu newspaper and two of its staff.

The paper, Nawaijang, made a series of defamatory allegations against Mohammad Asghar and Abdul Rahman Mujahid.

The two men said they had been ostracised by some members of the local Muslim communities as a result.

Mr Asghar said the award was a "great relief," while a High Court judge said he and Mr Mujahid had been humiliated.

In January 2012, the newspaper made a series of unfounded allegations concerning the behaviour of South Wales East AM Mr Asghar, a shadow cabinet member, and Mr Mujahid.

'Worry and stress'

In his judgement, Judge Milwyn Jarman QC said: "I am satisfied that each claimant has suffered humiliation within Muslim and mosque communities, which play a highly important part in the lives of each of them."

"Each claimant in his witness statement sets out in considerable detail, how as a result of the article he received numerous queries from members of such communities in south east Wales, as well in the case of the first claimant from constituents and voters and colleagues, and in the case of the second claimant from the Imams of mosques in various cities in England with whom he associates.

"Explanations had to be given, and embarrassment and shame was felt in having to do so.

"The attitudes of some members of such communities have changed towards each claimant, and some no longer speak to them.

"Worry and stress has been caused."

Nawaijang UK Limited, Asif Saleem and his wife Nadia Tuffail were each ordered to pay £45,000 to each of the claimants.

Mr Asghar said he was "glad it's all over."

Thanking his friends and family he said the ruling was a "great relief".

On Twitter, he added: "For anyone who has ever questioned my honesty - the British justice system has delivered its decision."

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