Sunday, July 22, 2007

From the British Courts: A strange libel case that gives pause to authors and comfort to terrorism

There is currently a court battle going on which sounds absolutely absurd. In short, Rachel Ehrenfeld, an American and founder of the American Center for Democracy, wrote a book which mentioned Khalid Salim bin Manfouz, accusing him of funding Hama and Al Qaeda. The Washington Times has an column summarizing the outlines of the story.

Bin Mafouz sued Ehrenfeld in London for libel. As most readers of this blog know, the burden there is on the defendant. But here is the kicker: Ehrenfeld never published her book in the UK. A couple of copies were sold as special orders over Amazon which posted a chanpter of the book on the Internet.

Bin Mafouz is essentially a "libel tourists," who find some sort of weak connection in the UK to use that vanue to sue. The judge ruled that she must apologize to bin Mahfouz and pay over $225,000. She has not done either and, therefore, cannot travel to the UK, a servere impediment for someone who does research on terrorism and jihad.

Miss Ehrenfeld countersued in New York and last month the court said her case had merit and that she could appeal in this country. The court found that this case had implications for the First Amendment and for all authors.

Actually, as the Washington Times details, the French have extensive evidence linking bin Mafouz to Osama bin Laden.

This case, therefore, should be of great interest to writers and to those who believe that a vigorous fight against terrorism must continue. It's surprising that this case has not gotten more attention from the media. Could it be that Ehrenfeld is linked with neocon folks????

1 comment:

Avi said...

You have a spelling mistake in the last line. I believe you mean "neocon."