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Former fiancee of bomb-plot terrorist in defamation claim

THE Irish former fiancee of a Jordanian terrorist who was duped into carrying explosives on to an airplane has told the High Court she was defamed on the internet.

Ann Murphy was 32 and pregnant with the child of Nezar Hindawi when he hid 3lbs of Semtex explosives in her luggage without her knowledge on April 17, 1986.

She was about to board an El Al flight from London Heathrow bound for Tel Aviv in Israel when the explosives were found. Hindawi was convicted of attempting to bomb the plane and was sentenced to 45 years in jail.

Yesterday in the High Court, Aillil O'Reilly, counsel for Ms Murphy, told Mr Justice Gerard Hogan that his client claimed to have been defamed on an internet website, slate.com, which is owned by the Washington Post Company, a firm registered in Delaware in the US.

Ms Murphy, with an address at Cois Carin, Old Connaught Avenue, Bray, Co Wicklow, was granted leave to serve a claim for damages arising from the alleged defamation in the US.

Solicitor Iain Montgomery said in an affidavit that an article on slate.com in January referred to Ms Murphy.


Mr Montgomery said the article stated: ". . . Israeli security screeners can make a claim that their US counterparts probably can't -- they've actually caught a terrorist red-handed.

"When the girlfriend of Jordanian terrorist Nezar Hindawi tried to carry a bomb on to an El Al flight out of London's Heathrow Airport in 1986, agents working for the Israeli airline identified her as a potential threat and foiled the plot."

Mr Montgomery said he believed the article meant that Ms Murphy was a terrorist and that she attempted to bomb an airline flight. "Neither of these statements is true," he said.

Mr Justice Hogan said that since the article was published worldwide the proceedings could be described as a cyber tort. What he was dealing with was a simple procedural matter of being satisfied as to allow the summons to be issued outside the jurisdiction.

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