Earlier this month, the Western Standard was sued in human rights court for publishing the Danish cartoons. It’s been ten years since I’ve graduated from law school, and I’ve never seen a more frivolous, vexatious, infantile suit than this.
But that’s the point — this complaint is not about beating us in the law. Freedom of speech is still in our constitution; we’ll win in the end. It’s a nuisance suit, designed to grind us down, cost us money, and serve as a warning to other, more timid media.
The hand-written scrawl and the spelling errors were what first disgusted me with the suit; but the arguments were what really got me. The complainant, Imam Syed Soharwardy, a former professor at an anti-Semitic university in Saudi Arabia, doesn’t just argue that we shouldn’t have published the cartoons. He argues that we shouldn’t be able to defend our right to publish the cartoons. The bulk of his complaint was that we dared to try to justify it.
He argues that advocating a free press should be a thought crime.
Here is a letter I sent out to our e-mail list, explaining our legal situation.
Here is the formal response I shall file with the human rights commission tomorrow.
And here is where you can chip in to our legal defence fund if you want to support us. Our lawyers tell me we’ll likely win, but it could cost us up to $75,000 to do so — and the case against us is being prosecuted by government employees using tax dollars.
We’re a small, independent magazine and we don’t have deep pockets to fight off nuisance suits, so please chip in if you can.