Man sues Education Ministry for using his photo in schoolbook


JEDDAH — A Saudi man filed a lawsuit against the Ministry of Education for using his photo in one of their schoolbooks without his knowledge or permission.

In the lawsuit, Mohammed Hamdan accused the ministry of violating his intellectual rights and distorting his reputation as the photo, which was used in the Grade Six book Lughati Al-Jameela (My Beautiful Language), was used in a negative way.

He also demanded the punishment of whoever was behind this, and the immediate withdrawal of all copies of the book showcasing his photo. He also asked for an official apology and a financial compensation for the psychological damage he suffered.

Hamdan told Al-Arabiya that this incident came to light three months ago when his friends told him that his photo was used in a schoolbook, specifically in a lesson that discusses illegal hunting and criticizes citizens for their unacceptable behavior of hunting in animal protectorates.

Hamdan, who is a hunting enthusiast, noted that the photo was nine years old and was taken during a hunting trip in the Sinai Desert and not in an animal reserve in Saudi Arabia like the book claimed.

Hunting in the Sinai Desert is legal and allowed during certain times, he said.

Hamdan noted that the ministry forged facts when it depicted him as an irresponsible man who does not respect the law and as someone who practices illegal hunting and contributes to animal extinction.

Two sessions with the judge have been held ever since he filed the lawsuit but the Ministry of Education did not issue any response during both sessions, he said, adding that the sessions have now been postponed for 10 days.

The ministry’s spokesperson Mubarak Al-Osaimi told Al Arabiya that the ministry will confirm the details of the incident before it responds.

Legal consultant Abdul Aziz Bin Batel said it is illegal to take people’s photos, keep them or use them unless the person in the photo gives his or her permission. — Al-Arabiya English