CASABLANCA, Morocco (AFP) – Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi on Monday sued three Moroccan newspapers for defamation, seeking eight million euros in damages for “attacks on the dignity of a head of state.”
The current chairman of the African Union “has charged me… with claiming 30 million dirhams (3.67 million dollars) from each of the Moroccan newspapers: Al Jarida Al Aoula; Al Ahdath Al Maghribia and Al Massae,” lawyer Ali Belkadi told a Casablanca court.
A battery of defence lawyers argued that the premise upon which Kadhafi’s claims were based was out of keeping with the Libyan constitution, as he is nowhere referred to as head of state, but simply as “guide.”
One of the defence lawyers, Abderrahim Jamai, pointed out that former US president George W. Bush “did not claim damages of such an amount” when an Iraqi journalist threw his show in his direction during a press conference in the last days of the Bush administration.
One of the journalists targeted, Ali Anouzla, told AFP Monday that he had written an article which “evokes in substance the absence of democracy in the (north African) Maghreb countries, especially Libya.”
He added: “I stand by my statements, (Libya) is a dictatorship which has been in place for 40 years.”
The court adjourned the case until June 22 to give the defence teams more time to prepare their arguments.