Saturday, 24 November 2007

The Libel Tourist

"Saudi Billionaire Accused of Funding Terror Exploits British Laws to Silence American Authors. Documentary Film Shows How The Libel Tourist Failed to Silence Rachel Ehrenfeld.
The Moving Picture Institute (MPI) has released a documentary short film (at casting light on what a former ACLU director calls 'one of the most important First Amendment cases of the past 25 years.'"
The Libel Tourist exposes how Saudi billionaire Khalid Bin Mafhouz exploits the British legal system and sues for libel in London even though he does not live there and the articles or books are not published in Britain. It is an outrageous abuse of the legal system," said the film's Executive Producer Rob Pfaltzgraff. Many American authors and researchers are finding themselves silenced and harassed by Mafhouz's trans-continental manipulation of libel laws. MPI's new 8-minute film The Libel Tourist is a story about how Saudi money is used to silence and control the media through the British court system.

Directed by MPI fellow Jared Lapidus, the film explains how Mahfouz filed a libel suit against Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, author of Funding Evil; How Terrorism is Financed - and How to Stop It. The suit was not filed in the United States, where the book was published and sold, but instead in London, where Mahfouz associates ordered 23 books online. The judge ordered all copies of the book pulped, and ordered Ehrenfeld to pay the legal fees and damages, despite the fact that nothing in her book about Saudi funding of terrorism was ever disproved.

Since 2002, drawing on a vast fortune, Mafhouz has sued more than 36 times in London, where the libel laws heavily favor the accuser. Every media outlet or publisher he sued, or threatened to sue, apologized, retracted and paid fines. "Mafhouz has single-handedly wiped out an entire genre of reportage. Researchers are chilled into dropping the entire subject." said Pfaltzgraff.

Mahfouz's frequent libel lawsuits have earned London the title of "World Capital for Libel Tourism;" even Cambridge University Press, the oldest English-speaking publishing house, chose to pulp the book Alms for Jihad, apologize, and pay Mahfouz.

Ehrenfeld, however, is fighting back. In The Libel Tourist she speaks about her shocking experience of modern-day book burning by British courts, and the First Amendment lawsuit she filed against Mahfouz. Oral arguments in her case were heard November 15, 2007 in a New York courtroom.

Audrey Mullen, Advocacy Ink: (703) 548.1160 email:

Hat tip: Ed Cline via UKOA

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