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Rushdie receives apology from bodyguard

India-born writer Salman Rushdie receives an apology from his former bodyguard for false claims he made in a tell-all book about the world-famous author.

india Updated: Aug 26, 2008 21:04 IST
HS Rao

Controversial India-born writer Salman Rushdie on Tuesday received an apology from his former bodyguard for false claims he made in a tell-all book about the world-famous author.

In his book, Ronald Evans, who helped protect 61-year-old Rushdie after he received death threats for writing 'The Satanic Verses' in 1989, claimed the author sought to profit from the 'fatwa' and had also been suicidal.

Evans, ghost writer Douglas Thompson and publishers John Blake Publishing apologised in London's High court for the "hurt and damage" they had caused.

Justice Teare made a Declaration of Falsity against the two authors and the publishers.

'On Her Majesty's Service' was due to be published early this month but it was delayed after Rushdie became aware of the claims after portions of the book were serialised in a newspaper.

John Blake Publishing Ltd, pulped 4,000 copies which were printed but never distributed after discovering that substantial parts of two chapters were untrue. Elements of the book have now been re-written.

Rushdie, who did not claim any damages, said: "This has been an unattractive affair."

In a statement outside the court, he said: "The author, ghost writers and publishers of this book have agreed in court that the book contained a very large number - 11 - serious falsehoods which they've admitted were complete lies.

"And the court has so ruled that these 11 statements were defamatory and untruthful. As far as I'm concerned that's the end of the matter."
"It was never my desire to seek any financial reward from this but simply to have it established that the truth is the truth and lies are lies - I'm happy to have nailed that," Rushdie said.

David Sherborne, representing Rushdie, informed the court that Evans' book contained many "so-called revelations about the 'Best of the Booker' winner author's home life, his relationship with his wife, son and interactions with police protection officers.

"In addition to the invasion of his privacy which this book represented, of particular concern to the claimant were a series of utterly and demonstrably false statements which it contained."

Rushdie lauded the use of the Declaration of Falsity in this case and urged others in the same situation to follow the same route.

"I hope that may be this device of the Declaration of Falsity is another way of pursuing these matters. Instead of going for the mega bucks you simply go to court for the important thing which is to establish what's true and what's not. I think it's clear and simpler way of dealing with this and I'm very pleased we've been able to use it in this way."