Norwegian journalist Åsne Seierstad, author of international bestselling novel “The Bookseller of Kabul”, has been ordered to pay 125,000 kroner in damages for invasion of privacy.
“The Bookseller of Kabul” is descriptive of the lives of fundamental Islamic people and touches on aspects such as honor killings and prostitution, as well as the main character’s and his family’s thoughts.
According to Celebrity Café magazine, Suraia Rais, wife of the real bookseller, accused Seierstad of using inaccurate information in her book regarding her family’s personal lives and relationships.
Oslo District Court (Tingrett) decided that "The information (in the book) about Rais's thoughts and feelings is sensitive," reports Dagbladet.
The court also ruled against Seirstad’s publisher, Cappelen Damm, who is also obliged to pay the plaintiff a further 125,000.
"They are attributed to her as true, and neither Seierstad nor Cappelen Damm can be considered to have acted in good faith to ensure they were correct and accurate,” was the court’s conclusion.
Seirstad’s lawyer, Cato Schiøtz, says he was “astonished” by the ruling and was determined to advise his client to appeal the decision
However, Per Danielsen, Rais’ lawyer, was satisfied with the ruling, highlighting that the journalist was “careless” when approaching such sensitive topics.
"It's now been established that Seierstad wrote to make money by discussing other people's private lives," he said.
Seierstad wrote the novel after living with the Rais family for three months in 2002 after the fall of the Taliban.