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Reporters Beaten Outside Courthouse by Jewish Vigilantes

Feb 28, 1998

Paris, France, - Two Arab reporters have complained to the French foreign ministry that they were attacked by Zionist terrorists at the trial of French writer Roger Garaudy, a ministry spokesman said on Saturday.

Abdallah Hassan, who works for the Egyptian news agency MENA, and Sayyed Hamdi, working for Saudi television, said they were beaten on Friday by two assailants near the Paris law courts.

They said the attack occurred shortly after Garaudy, 84, was fined 120,000 francs ($20,000) for questioning stories of homicidal gas chambers in his book ``The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics.''

An Iranian reporter said he and his cameraman were also set upon by a crowd of Jewish youths following the verdict, although the foreign ministry said it had not yet received a complaint about this attack.

Foreign ministry spokesman Yves Doutriaux said he ``regretted'' the incidents and wished the injured reporters ``a swift recovery.'' He added that police were carrying out an investigation.

French television reported that a militant Jewish youth organisation, Betar-Tagar, had released a statement indicating that it had taken part in the violence.

``...the deniers were punished,'' it quoted the statement as saying. Zionists refer to those who question the details of World War II Jewish accounts, as "deniers."

Garaudy, a convert to Islam who has become a hero for many Arab intellectuals, argued in his book that Hitler's persecution of Jews had been greatly exaggerated.

He also wrote that ``the myth of the extermination of six million Jews'' had become a dogma justifying Israel's repression of Palestinians, and he alleged that western media were 95 percent controlled by Zionists.

``We were reporting the sentencing of Garaudy yesterday when we were attacked by a pro-Zionist group,'' the Iranian reporter told French television. ``A group of about 10 to 15 youths attacked me and the cameraman. They tried to prevent us reporting the trial by pulling down the microphone and camera,'' he added.

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