Thursday, August 02, 2007
"Cambridge University Press has agreed to destroy all unsold copies of a 2006 book by two American authors, "Alms for Jihad," following a libel action brought against it in England, the latest development in what critics say is an effort by Saudis to quash discussion of their alleged role in aiding terrorism.
In a letter of apology to a wealthy Saudi businessman, Sheikh Khalid Bin Mahfouz, Cambridge University Press acknowledged that allegations made in the book about his family, businesses, and charities were "entirely and manifestly false." The publisher wrote, "Please accept our sincere apologies for the distress and embarrassment this has caused."
The press also published a separate apology on its web site (http://www.cambridge.org/about/apology.htm), and wrote that it would pay substantial damages and contribute to legal costs. A press release by Sheikh Mahfouz's London-based law firm, Kendall Freeman, said Cambridge University Press was also writing to over 200 libraries around the world asking them to withdraw the book from shelves. The total press run was about 1,500 copies.
...The press release from Sheikh Mahfouz's law firm said he would donate the money from the settlement to the United Nations Children's Fund. Forbes magazine lists the sheikh's fortune at $3.1 billion, much of which derives from a sale of National Commercial Bank to the Saudi government in 2002."
UPDATE: Hot Air has an interview with Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld of the American Center for Democracy, one of the authors who has been subjected to attempted intimidation by libel litigation. And this post by Candace de Russy at Phi Bet Cons on National Review Online has more info and links.