Saudi travel firm pursues libel claim in capital

A reporter faces a lawsuit over a story about a Saudi company.

ABU DHABI // The dismissal of a libel complaint in Saudi Arabia should not prevent the case being tried in Abu Dhabi, a lawyer has argued before the Court of Appeal.

The Saudi travel company Al Tayyar and its owner, NA, are suing AA, a member of the Saudi Economic Society, over an article published in the UAE newspaper Al Royya. In the article,AA said an initial public offering of Al Tayyar on the Saudi stock market would potentially cost investors billions of riyals.

He has already been cleared of libel by the Abu Dhabi Court of First Instance, on the grounds that the article described real events, and the author believed the information in it to be true.

However, Al Tayyar's lawyer, Amer Syed, told the appeals court the complaint had never reached court in Saudi Arabia. It had been dismissed before trial because the words used in the article were not libellous under Saudi law, and because the newspaper was not published there.

"So there is nothing that prevents the case from being heard and tried in Abu Dhabi courts," said Mr Syed, who argued the article was defamatory of Al Tayyar and NA.

The appeals court judge, Dr Khayri Al Kabbash, adjourned the case until September 25 and asked Mr Syed to bring a copy of the article.

Published: August 25, 2011 04:00 AM