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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Dubai Film Festival Chairman Sued for Libel in UK

Dubai Film Festival Chairman Sued for Libel in UK

LONDON, November 30/PRNewswire/ --

- Dubai Holding's Tecom and Other Top Executive Named as Co-Defendants

The founder of one of the world's leading international film festivals is
today launching a major legal action in the UK High Court of Justice against
two former senior colleagues who falsely accused him of being a "racist" and
an "Arab hater".

Neil Stephenson, the former CEO of the Dubai International Film Festival
(DIFF) - an event conceptualized and founded by Stephenson in the aftermath
of the 9-11 terrorist attacks in order to bring reconciliation between the
West and the Islamic world - is suing DIFF Chairman Abdulhamid Juma and
Managing Director Shivani Pandya.

Stephenson originally conceived the idea of DIFF in the UK on December
26, 2001, after reading an article in a UK newspaper which described how
world leaders were calling for tolerance to be the legacy of the terror
attacks on America.

The High Court writ filed by Stephenson claims the two defendants labeled
him a racist and then illegally conspired to engineer his exit from DIFF in
late 2006, and tried to ruin his reputation by making untrue and damaging
claims against him.

Stephenson has brought this action reluctantly after attempting to
reconcile matters amicably in a private way. Stephenson reached out
repeatedly to Mr. Juma and TECOM to reach a resolution but unfortunately all
his attempts to reconcile matters were unsuccessful.

Stephenson commented: "I am saddened that this dispute could not be
amicably resolved, but I will continue to fight for justice and for my
rightful credit."

The case was originally filed last December in the California Superior
Court against Juma and Pandya "for their deplorable and despicable behavior,"
but when the defendants attempted to sidestep the charges on technical
jurisdictional grounds and refused to answer the substance of his complaint,
Stephenson in a surprise move decided to withdraw his California lawsuit and
voluntarily re-file the case in the British courts in order to litigate the
dispute on its merits.

The suit alleges that the two defendants also conspired to ruin his
reputation by branding him a "racist" and an "Arab-hater," despite the fact
that he had lived in the Arab world for 10 years. Stephenson, a British
citizen, has also filed a complaint with the British-UAE All Party
Parliamentary Group at Westminster, and plans to file a formal complaint with
the Anti-Defamation League.

Despite Stephenson's departure, DIFF has continued to rely heavily on his
theme and positioning of the festival as an international cultural bridge.
Last year, Juma persuaded George Clooney and Sharon Stone to attend the
festival, enticing them with the festival's message of tolerance and

For further information: UK and INTERNATIONAL MEDIA, Elizabeth Block at
EJB Communications: +44(0)786-791-7286,; US MEDIA, Allan
Mayer at 42West: +1-310-477-4442,

Source: Neil Stephenson Ltd

For further information: UK and INTERNATIONAL MEDIA, Elizabeth Block at EJB Communications: +44(0)786-791-7286,; US MEDIA, Allan Mayer at 42West: +1-310-477-4442,

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