Pro-Kremlin youth group wins libel suit against French paper

23rd April 2010, Comments 0 comments

Pro-Kremlin youth group Nashi Thursday said it had won a libel suit against a French weekend paper which had branded the group's campaign against an outspoken Russian journalist as xenophobic.

France's Journal du Dimanche was fined 250,000 rubles (8,600 dollars/ 6,400 euros) by a Moscow court on Wednesday for publishing false and defamatory information, the group said in a statement.

It said the Sunday newspaper was ordered to print an apology for its article in October labelling Nashi's controversial targeting of an anti-Soviet Russian journalist as a "violent mix of patriotism and xenophobia."

The group, which regularly campaigns against people and organisations that it deems unpatriotic, held daily protests at the home of the former Soviet dissident, Alexander Podrabinek, after he criticized World War II veterans in an article published on an Internet news site.

Podrabinek went into hiding last autumn, saying he had received threats.

The case has drawn criticism from global media freedom groups and Russian rights activists.

Nashi had also sued Britain's The Independent, France's Le Monde and Germany's Frankfurter Rundschau for libel.

The Independent however has settled with Nashi out of court by publishing a retraction.

Nashi (Ours) was founded in 2005 during the presidency of Vladimir Putin and immediately drew attention for holding massive patriotic rallies with tens of thousands of youths. It denies receiving funding from the Kremlin.

© 2010 AFP

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