French court throws out Savimbi ‘Call of Duty’ case


  • TECH
  • Friday, 25 Mar 2016

NANTERRE, France: A French court threw out a case in which the children of slain Angolan rebel chief Jonas Savimbi sued the makers of the Call of Duty videogame for representing their father as a “barbarian”. 

The magistrates said the lawsuit contained procedural flaws and that they had no jurisdiction in the case. 

“We are disappointed,” said Cheya Savimbi, the 42-year-old son of the notorious rebel. 

The Savimbi children sued Activision Blizzard, the maker of Call of Duty, for defaming their father by portraying him as a violent character in the 2012 Black Ops II game. 

Call of Duty, the world’s best-selling videogame last year, puts the player in the role of a shooter, and often features characters based on historical and political figures. 

Cheya previously told the court in Nanterre outside Paris that he wanted to “rehabilitate the memory and image” of his father, who led a brutal 27-year war against the government in Luanda. 

The offending clip showed Savimbi, known as the “Black Cockerel” by his supporters, rallying his troops from the back of a tank as MPLA government troops advance on them, gunfire rattling all around. 

He yells out phrases such as “fight, my brothers” and “we must finish them... death to the MPLA”. 

“Seeing him kill people, cutting someone’s arm off ... that isn’t Dad,“ Cheya said. 

Activision’s lawyers argued freedom of expression. 

“He was a warlord, there is no possible contestation,” said lawyer Etienne Kowalski. 

Savimbi was known to have terrorised civilian populations and became one of the first warlords to fund his army with so-called “blood diamonds”. 

He was killed in battle against MPLA government forces in 2002, paving the way for a peace deal that would bring an end to one of Africa’s longest and bloodiest conflicts, which erupted after independence from Portugal in 1975. — AFP

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