Mahfouz, the former owner of the biggest bank in the Middle East, the National Commercial Bank of Saudi Arabia, claimed through his British lawyers that the 23 copies of [Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed — and How to Stop It] that were bought in Britain through the Internet damaged his reputation. That claim was accepted by a judge of the High Court, David Eady.
The court was acting according to the archaic English libel law that predates not only the Internet, but also the light bulb. It chills free speech through the award of disproportionate damages, a lack of viable defenses and the application of the law to cases with only the slightest links to Britain, even when neither party lives there, a practice that has led to what is known as “libel tourism.”
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