Editor denies payments

By Jessica Elgot, September 22, 2011

London Arab journalist Abdel Bari Atwan has been accused by the Libyan transitional government of receiving monthly payments from the Colonel Gaddafi regime.

Libyan opposition leaders have distributed intelligence documents, claiming a number of Arab journalists received payments from Colonel Gaddafi's administration, allegedly including Mr Atwan.

He is the editor of the London-based Al Quds newspaper, and a regular commentator for the Guardian and the BBC.

Mr Atwan, accused of antisemitism after remarks about the "Jewish lobby" at an LSE debate this year, is alleged to have been paid around £2,500 a month for three years, a claim he vigorously denies. The documents reveal similar claims about Khairy Mansour, a Jordanian columnist.

Mr Atwan told the Palestine Press News Agency that the documents were fraudulent. He promised to sue Libya's Mustafa Abdul Jalil, president of the Transitional National Assembly, in the English courts.

He said the campaign against him had begun because he had exposed alleged links between the Libyan transitional council and the Israeli government, via French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy.

Mr Atwan has previously denounced the Libyan rebel leadership for having "conceited and arrogant conduct" and said: "It is difficult to see how the country can be led by people with a mentality that is characterised by such arrogance, conceit, and a hostile attitude towards others."

He has previously clashed with Mr Levy, a supporter of Western intervention in the Libyan uprising, on BBC's Newsnight, where Mr Levy dismissed Mr Atwan's "ridiculous" comparison that the West had not intervened when Israel launched an offensive in Gaza.

Last updated: 2:50pm, September 22 2011