Libyan man sues MailOnline over Manchester Arena bombing story

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image copyrightPA
image captionSalman Abedi killed 22 people and himself outside a concert in May 2017

A Libyan man arrested after the Manchester Arena terror attack is suing MailOnline's publisher for £230,000 for publishing his details.

Alaedeen Sicri, 26, was arrested in West Sussex and released without charge over the May 2017 bombing of an Ariana Grande concert which killed 22 people.

Despite police not identifying him, MailOnline revealed his name, image and other details.

Publisher Associated Newspapers Ltd (ANL) denies it acted unlawfully.

Mr Sicri is seeking damages at the High Court in London over alleged misuse of private information.

At a hearing on Monday, Mr Sicri's barrister, Hugh Tomlinson said his client suffered "extreme and severe distress" as a result of being identified, which led to a "depressive illness".

In written submissions, he said qualified pilot Mr Sicri was arrested because the arena bomber, Salman Abedi, had called his phone prior to the attack.

He said police found the call was in connection with "something entirely separate".

Mr Sicri "did not know the bomber, had no connection with him, and was innocent of any involvement whatever in the attack", he added.

'Paranoid and frightened'

The website described Mr Sicri, from Shoreham, as a "trainee Libyan pilot" and used two photographs from his Facebook page.

After this, abusive messages about Mr Sicri were posted on Facebook, including one which read: "Another 9/11 in the making", the court heard.

"He felt paranoid and frightened for his safety," Mr Tomlinson said, adding that he moved away from Shoreham later that year.

The court also heard Mr Sicri lost his part-time job and his business in Libya was attacked.

"Despite having completed his long-term ambition of qualifying as a pilot, the claimant was unable to get any work.

"It is reasonable to infer it was as a result of Google searches which revealed he had been arrested on terrorism charges," Mr Tomlinson said.

Antony White, representing ANL, said the publisher obtained the information "lawfully" and it was a "publicly witnessed arrest, freely circulating within hours".

He said the "attempt to impugn reporting" in this way would "set a far-reaching precedent" which would "substantially compromise" the media's ability to report on vital criminal investigations.

The trial continues.

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