Nazi-hunting center convicted for defamation
AFP | March 12, 2007
The Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center was convicted of defamation by a Paris court on Thursday for accusing a French-based group of financing Palestinian militants.
The Committee for Charity and Support for the Palestinians (CBSP) filed suit against the centre's head of international relations, Stanley Trevor Samuels, after he claimed it sent funds to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers.
The CBSP has dismissed the charges as "ridiculous", saying it worked to support 3,000 Palestinian orphans.
Samuel was handed a suspended fine of 1,000 euros (1,300 dollars) and ordered to pay one euro in symbolic damages to the Palestinian support group over what the court described as "seriously defamatory" allegations.
The court ruled that documents produced by the Wiesenthal centre established no "direct or indirect participation in financing terrorism".
The Wiesenthal centre said later in a written statement that it had appealed the court ruling, which it believed was unjustified.
Israel in the past has also accused the CBSP of supporting the Palestinian radical group Hamas by transferring funds to the families of people killed by the Israeli military or during anti-Israeli attacks.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center, which has its European headquarters in Paris, describes itself as a human rights group dedicated to preserving the memory of the Holocaust by fostering tolerance and understanding.
The organisation is named after Simon Wiesenthal, an Austrian Jew who lost many family members in the Holocaust, and later dedicated most of his life to tracking down fugitive Nazis to bring them to justice.