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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Pamyat Loses Libel Appeal

The Moscow City Court on Wednesday upheld a lower court decision against the ultranationalist Pamyat group involving publication of the anti-Semitic "Protocols of the Elders of Zion."

At a hearing, the municipal court dismissed appeals by both Pamyat and the Jewish Gazette, the two opponents in a civil libel suit last year.

On behalf of Pamyat, editor in chief Dmitry Vasilyev had sued the Jewish Gazette for including Pamyat newspaper in a list of anti-Semitic publications, after Pamyat in 1992 published "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," a purported conspiracy of Jews and Freemasons to conquer the world.

Pamyat had sought $40,000 in "moral damages" from the Jewish Gazette, but the Cheryomushkinsky District Court on Nov. 26 ruled against Pamyat, classified the "Protocols" as anti-Semitic, and ordered Pamyat to pay the court expenses of 25,000 rubles (about $190). Both sides appealed the verdict.

Many international experts contend that the "Protocols" were fabricated by Tsar Nicholas' secret police to support Russia's anti-Semitic policies and Jewish pogroms. The "Protocols" also was widely used in Hitler's Nazi propaganda.

The Jewish Gazette's lawyer, David Akselbant, said that although he was satisfied with the district court's ruling against Pamyat, he wanted the court to state clearly the arguments supporting its decision. He requested another hearing.

In its appeal, Pamyat reiterated its libel charges and contended that the case was executed unlawfully.

After some two hours of arguments on Wednesday, the three-member court panel retired for an hour of deliberations, then reconvened to declare that neither side's appeal was supported by arguments or evidence strong enough to change the district court's decision.