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ISM Wins Libel Suit Against Right-Wing Journalist!


ISM Activist Wins Libel Suit Against Right-Wing Journalist!

Israeli Judge Awards Radhika Sainath $23,000

Early Tuesday, February 10, ISM human rights activist Radhika Sainath received notice of a Bet Shean Israeli Court verdict against journalist Judy Lash Balint. The judge's decision forces Balint to pay Sainath a sum of 105,000NIS ($23,400) plus all court and lawyer fees amounting to 11,787NIS ($2,600) for a November 2003 article.

Ms. Sainath, represented by Attorney Shamai Leibowitz, filed the libel suit over a particularly defamatory article Balint published on her website. Upon receiving the official decision Leibowitz commented, "We welcome this verdict which defends the name and integrity of ISM volunteers in general and Ms. Sainath in particular. This verdict serves as a warning signal to pundits who loosely bandy about defamatory remarks aimed at human rights activists."

The article-riddled with unsubstantiated and fabricated information about Sainath and the ISM-was ordered to be removed from Balint's website. Although Balint's article is not the first article in the Israeli press misrepresenting the ISM's nonviolent work against the Occupation, this is the first time an ISM volunteer has sued for libel.

Radhika Sainath has spent nearly a year in the West Bank with the ISM conducting advocacy against the Wall, and supporting Palestinian nonviolent resistance against the Occupation. During that period she was arrested three times by Israeli authorities for supporting Palestinian human rights and self-determination, most recently in December after testifying against the State of Israel.

The judge ordered Balint to pay the entire suit amount after she failed to submit a defense.

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