Sacha Baron Cohen sued for £70m

By Jessica Elgot, December 7, 2009
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Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen is being sued for £70m after a Palestinian activist claimed his film, Bruno, “ruined his life”.

In Mr Baron Cohen’s latest movie about a gay Austrian fashion designer, his character Bruno travels to the Ein El-Hilweh refugee camp in Lebanon to meet a man claimed in the film to be a “terrorist group leader, Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade”.

Mr Baron Cohen later claimed on David Letterman’s US chat show that the production team found Aymna Abu Aita through a contact in the CIA.

Mr Abu Aita, who says he is a peace activist from Bethlehem, said the scenes were actually filmed in a hotel near Bethlehem, near an Israeli army base.

He says he has received death threats since the film was released and that he was tricked into meeting Mr Baron Cohen, believing him to be a German documentary maker.

The father-of-four insists he is a peace activist and a firm opponent of violence and terrorism.

He has filed a libel and slander lawsuit at the federal court in the District of Columbia for £70m, against Mr Baron Cohen, Bruno director Larry Charles, David Letterman, broadcaster CBS and Universal Studios.

The lawsuit also demands that the film be banned from any further distribution.

Universal Studios refused to comment on the case.

Last updated: 12:13pm, December 7 2009