Jeddah municipality sues lawyers over rain cloud-dispersing claims

Jeddah municipality sues lawyers over rain cloud-dispersing claims
Updated 22 February 2014

Jeddah municipality sues lawyers over rain cloud-dispersing claims

Jeddah municipality sues lawyers over rain cloud-dispersing claims

Jeddah municipality has sued two lawyers and a journalist for claiming that it had used a toxic chemical to disperse rain clouds over the city to prevent delays of ongoing flood drainage projects, according to local media reports on Friday.
Abdulaziz Al-Ghamdi, Jeddah municipality spokesman, confirmed that a lawsuit has been filed about the claims made last year. He said the case was referred to the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution.
The legal action comes three months after Ihab Al-Suleimani and a colleague filed a lawsuit against the municipality on “behalf of residents” of the city alleging that the municipality used a chemical called Kimtrel to disperse rain clouds over the city, and had proof this caused asthma and other respiratory problems.
Al-Suleimani said he had filed the case as an individual and not as a member of Amnesty International, according to Friday’s report. He described the municipality’s lawsuit against him and a colleague as “malicious.” However, he said it was the municipality’s right to resort to legal action.
Initial press reports last year claimed Amnesty International had filed a case against the municipality. However, the organization’s press spokesperson for the Middle East and North Africa, Sarah Hashash, had denied this and said Amnesty did not have representation in Saudi Arabia.
Al-Suleimani has said that he has been a member of Amnesty for six years.
The municipality has repeatedly denied using toxic chemicals to disperse rain clouds over Jeddah. The Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PME) had also rejected accusations that it, or any other government body, was doing so.
This follows a web-based Arabic newspaper, and social networking sites, showing a picture of a plane carrying what appeared to be rocket-shaped containers allegedly filled with gases to disperse rain clouds.
The PME had said the plane was used for cloud seeding, to increase rainfall over some areas including Abha and the central region. It was not used to prevent rainfall.
It said the cloud seeding project had been going on for four years, and urged the public to ignore rumors on the Internet.