Our lawyer, Fatima Hassan from the AIDS Law Project, was served with withdrawal of action notices today (23 February).
Rath has also withdrawn his cases against:
* Medicins Sans Frontieres’ Dr Eric Goemaere and three others (case number 7483/05)
* UKZN’s Professor Jerry Coovadia
* Five of those being sued along with Professor Kader Asmal, but not against Asmal himself.
Rath gave notice in November last year that he intended to sue Health-e and its journalists for R1.6-million in damages following a series of stories written and broadcast about the activities of the Rath Foundation, primarily in Khayelitsha and Gugulethu.
Among other things, the series revealed that agents of the Rath Foundation were:
• encouraging people living with HIV to stop taking their antiretroviral drugs in favour of the Rath vitamins,
• conducting an illegal ‘trial’ of the Rath vitamins on people living with HIV/AIDS
In addition, we revealed that women Rath had paraded for the press, claiming that they were healthy simply from being on his vitamins, had been on ARVs all along.
Rath’s decision to withdraw his defamation case vindicates our view that the stories were accurate, contained fair comment and their publication and broadcasting were in the public interest.