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Telegraph apologises and pays damages to former Guantanamo Bay detainee over 'baseless and unfounded' allegation

The Telegraph has apologised and paid damages after publishing a “baseless and unfounded” allegation about a former Guatanamo Bay detainee.

Two stories, published on 28 July and 26 September last year, wrongly claimed that Omar Deghayes had used compensation money he received from the British Government for its alleged involvement in his rendition and unlawful imprisonment to pay for his nephews to attend a gym where they had been radicalised.

Two of his nephews were later killed while fighting in Syria.

Deghayes, represented by Rahman Lowe Solicitors, has now successfully made a defamation claim against The Telegraph and Daily Telegraph.

The newspaper published a retraction and an apology online and on page two yesterday.

It said: “We now accept that, although some of the information we published was drawn from a local authority Serious Case Review, Mr Deghayes had not paid or encouraged his nephews to attend the gym nor was he responsible for his nephews travelling to Syria.

“We apologise to Mr Deghayes for any distress caused and have agreed to pay him damages and legal costs.”

Deghayes (pictured) was arrested in Pakistan in 2002 and held by the US as an enemy combatant, without charge, at Guantanamo Bay for five years.

He said: “I’m pleased that the Telegraph has acknowledged that they published a baseless and unfounded allegation and have set the record straight.

“It is regrettable that the writer and publisher did not attempt to verify the story they were publishing. The harm that has been inflicted can never truly be rectified.”

Picture: Reuters/Stefan Wermuth

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