Libel Suit Rejected

Libel Suit Rejected

September 30, 2011
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A French court has ruled against Teodoro Obiang's libel suit against a NGO that accused him of corruption and labeled him a dictator. 

On September 30, a French court ruled against President Teodoro Obiang Nguema in the libel suit he had brought against French NGO CCFD-Terre Solidaire. President Obiang has also been ordered to pay 2,500 euros to each of the four defendants for abuse of process.

President Obiang sued CCFD-Terre Solidaire for defamation on the basis of a report they issued in 2007 entitled, “Biens mal acquis: á qui profite le crime?” (“Ill-gotten gains: Who benefits?”). The report surveyed the alleged stolen assets of 29 leaders of developing nations, including President Obiang.  Obiang was the only leader mentioned in the report that chose to sue CCFD over its allegations.

In March 2007, on the basis of claims made in the report, Transparency International France filed a legal complaint against President Obiang, Omar Bongo of Gabon, and Denis Sassou Nguesso for “concealment of embezzlement of public funds.” On Wednesday September 28, at least 11 “supercars” belonging to Obiang’s family were seized in connection with the corruption trial.

The court considered the report legitimate and produced in “good faith” to inform the public regarding an important issue. In the ruling, the court reminded Obiang that, “a politician of the highest level, and particularly a head of state, must learn to suffer criticism and protest.”

Image courtesy of the US Department of State [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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