Karsenty appealing latest libel conviction in al-Dura case


(JTA) — French Jewish politician Philippe Karsenty appealed to France’s Supreme Court to overturn his conviction for defamation in the al-Dura case.

Karsenty, the deputy mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine, near Paris, was convicted last month and fined $14,000 for saying France 2 and its reporter Charles Enderlin had doctored a 2000 video showing the alleged death of Mohammed al-Dura, a 12-year-old Palestinian boy.

His original conviction, in 2006, was overturned two years later by a French court that reviewed the full footage.

Karsenty had said he would not pursue the case further but changed his mind “because of procedural and ethical issues” that he says led to a “miscarriage of justice” in his latest trial. He declined to elaborate, citing legal issues.

The video became a symbol of the second intifada, and the Israeli government claims that it spawned terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and Jews elsewhere.

Shot near Gaza by France 2’s Palestinian cameraman, the video shows al-Dura in the arms of his father as they crouched behind a barrel as bullets hit the wall behind them. France 2 said the boy was shot dead by Israeli troops but deleted a sequence at the end in which the boy appears to be alive. France 2 later said the movements were death throes, but an Israeli team of inquiry said the boy was moving voluntarily.

An Israeli investigation found that bullets seen hitting the wall likely came from Palestinian gunmen. In May, a different Israeli review panel concluded there was no evidence al-Dura had died.

France 2’s attorneys threatened to sue the latest panel, set up by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Lawyers for the state-owned station said the station did not receive the opportunity to present its version of events.

The legal adviser of the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office this month responded by listing six requests by Israeli officials for input on the al-Dura case from France 2. Some of the requests were made to France’s outgoing ambassador to Israel, Christophe Bigot.

“There emerges a pattern of repeatedly complaining that your positions are not heard while ignoring all requests made to you to receive the materials that you say your clients are not getting the opportunity to display,” attorney Shlomit Barnea-Fargo of the Prime Minister’s Office wrote to France 2 in a reply obtained by JTA.

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