JEDDAH – The General Court is expected to issue a verdict by mid-April in a $10 million (SR38 million) lawsuit filed by a cancer patient against tobacco distribution companies in the Kingdom.
The man’s lawyer, Iyad Zuhair Al-Sibaee, said the legal action against the tobacco sellers was “inevitable” because “they are directly harming individuals and the entire society”.
He said there have been many similar cases in the world which have ended in favor of the plaintiff with compensation of $10 million each. “So why be silent about it,” he said.
The groundbreaking legal action was launched by Ali Asiri, who had his larynx removed after doctors at a Riyadh specialist government hospital discovered a cancerous tumor. Asiri believes that the tumor was caused by his smoking.
After the removal of the tumor, Asiri filed the case against tobacco agents in the country. The court allowed the matter to proceed after a long debate. Several hearings have been held.
This lawsuit is one of the largest to be filed in the Kingdom by a cancer patient against tobacco companies and has attracted considerable public attention.
The Kafa Society for Creating Awareness on the Harm of Smoking and Drugs, based in Makkah, has supported the lawsuit.
Asiri joined the Kafa Society to conduct voluntary work to warn the public about the dangers of smoking cigarettes and using tobacco derivatives.
Asiri had initially filed his lawsuit against tobacco agents in Al-Khobar in the Eastern Province, but the court there refused to consider the matter.
Asiri intends to file another lawsuit after obtaining a medical report from the King Faisal Specialist Hospital which he expects to confirm that he has cancer caused by smoking. – Okaz/SG