Yahoo, imprisoned Chinese journalists settle lawsuit

Deal comes a week after contentious congressional hearing

Yahoo Tuesday settled a lawsuit brought against it on behalf of imprisoned Chinese journalist Shi Tao, and pro-democracy writer Wang Xiaoning, according to court documents. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Yahoo could not be reached for comment.

The settlement comes after a contentious Congressional hearing last week in which members of the US House of Representatives accused Yahoo of providing information to the Chinese government that led to the arrest and imprisonment of journalist Shi Tao. Rep. Tom Lantos also accused Yahoo officials of lying to Congress about how much Yahoo knew of the facts surrounding the case when it provided information to the Chinese authorities.

The lawsuit was filed in April in the US District Court for the Northern District of California by the World Organization for Human Rights USA, which sought to hold Yahoo accountable for giving the Chinese government information that led to the 10-year imprisonment of the two journalists.

"After last week's congressional hearing, Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang asked to speak with the family members of the detainees, so talks took place several days after that," said Morton Sklar, executive director of the human rights group. "Everyone feels great about this settlement agreement, and the main reason is that everyone recognized that it would take four or five years for these results to come about as a result of the litigation, so this is much faster than would have happened if we continued with the lawsuit."

According to the court documents, Yahoo has also agreed to pay the legal costs of the plaintiffs.

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Linda Rosencrance

Computerworld

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