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Canwest drops suit against pro-Palestine activist

Canwest has dropped its lawsuit against retired community college instructor Mordecai Briemberg.

Briemberg was one of several people named in a lawsuit stemming from the publication of a parody of the Vancouver Sun in June, 2007.

The parody criticized Canwest’s editorial policies on the Middle East. Canwest Mediaworks Publications Inc., owner of the Sun, argued in court documents that publication of the parody was a malicious act intended to harm the company. Canwest also alleged that the parody infringed its trademark.

Briemberg, a long-time pro-Palestinian activist, has denied having anything to do with the publication of the parody. He has repeatedly said he merely picked up a stack of the papers at the Vancouver Public Library and distributed them at a bus stop near his Burnaby home.

After Canwest named Briemberg in a writ filed in December, 2007, Carel Moiseiwitsch and Gordon Murray came forward and declared themselves responsible for the parody.

Canwest lawyer David Church confirmed Friday that a notice of discontinuance has been filed against Briemberg. Such a notice means that “at this time” Canwest is not continuing the lawsuit against Briemberg, he said.

He declined to discuss why Briemberg had been dropped from the suit.

Canwest is still suing Moiseiwitsch and Murray.

Anne Roberts, a co-chair of the Seriously Free Speech Committee, which was formed to defend Briemberg, said in an interview that the committee’s campaign was at least partly responsible for Canwest’s action. The committee will continue to call for the suit against Moiseiwitsch and Murray to be dropped, she said.

Tom Barrett is a contributing editor to The Tyee.

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