Judge Dismisses Case of Man Allegedly Beaten by Sheik

     (CN) – A man who claims he was publicly whipped by a member of the United Arab Emirates’ ruling family after rejecting the sheik’s sexual advances cannot sue for defamation in Massachusetts, a federal judge ruled.
     In 2003, Silvano Orsi, an Italian-American businessman, met Sheik Falah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, the half-brother of the President of the United Arab Emirates, in a hotel in Geneva, Switzerland. At the time, Orsi was a partner at a Swiss-incorporated consulting firm, according to court documents.
     Orsi claimed that Al-Nahyan made overt and aggressive sexual advances toward him while Orsi was entertaining a Saudi Arabian business associate in the hotel’s lounge. The sheik told Orsi that he “enjoyed the feeling of being submissive to bigger men,” and sent an expensive bottle of French champagne to Orsi’s table, though Orsi told Al-Nahyan that he did not drink alcohol, according to Orsi’s federal lawsuit.
     When Orsi told his waiter to thank Al-Nahyan, but left the champagne unopened, Al-Nahyan sat on the armrest of Orsi’s chair and “attempted to lick, kiss, and fondle Mr. Orsi while repeatedly calling Mr. Orsi a ‘stupid American’ and ‘stupid Italian’ for having dared refuse him,” the lawsuit states.
     When Orsi rejected the advances, Al-Nahyan “jumped forcefully” onto his lap, smashed his glasses, and then whipped him with a belt and belt buckle in front of dozens of hotel patrons, Orsi claimed.
     The hotel allegedly did nothing to help Orsi, and he says he continued to receive threats from Al-Nahyan’s agents long after the event.
     Orsi insisted he never called Al-Nahyan “gay,” a statement Orsi said the sheik invented to explain his “barbaric” assault.
     In 2006, Al-Nahyan was indicted in Geneva for assault and battery, but his conviction was later overturned.
     Orsi filed a civil action in Massachusetts in 2011, seeking damages for defamation and emotional distress, but U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock ruled that the court lacks jurisdiction to hear his case.
     “None of the events from August 19, 2003 — the day of the incident — can establish contacts with Massachusetts,” Woodlock wrote. “Not only does Orsi not allege he had any connection to Massachusetts at that time, but there is also no indication that Al-Nahyan or any of his affiliates knew of that connection, or had any idea that their statements or actions had ramifications in Massachusetts, let alone that they intended any injury to be felt in Massachusetts.”
     Woodcock found the only tie to Massachusetts was Orsi’s interaction with Al-Nahyan’s purported agents while Orsi was a law student in Massachusetts.
     “The problem is that Orsi again fails to make a single specific factual allegation as to these agents’ contacts with Massachusetts,” Woodlock wrote.
     “For example, Orsi says that [the agents] ‘have continuously and deliberately contacted me in the U.S. Jurisdiction,’ an allegation which conspicuously avoids specifying where in the United States any contacts occurred.”
     Because Orsi cannot establish jurisdiction in Massachusetts, Woodcock denied his motion to “effectuate service via alternative means” and dismissed the case.
     “The fact that this barbaric incident is still being discussed nine years later, and that this delinquent Sheikh was brought before even one single court and convicted, is in itself a huge step for justice and the rule of law, and an immense victory for all victims of violence,” Orsi told Courthouse News in an email. “I am proud to have stood up for my rights, and I will continue to do so, as a law-abiding citizen.”
     He said he would discuss the ruling with his attorneys “and decide whether to appeal it in the U.S., or take the defamation matter up in another jurisdicition, perhaps in the ongoing civil matter in Geneva, Switzerland, where the Courts aren’t afraid to declare service and jurisidiction over sheikhs from oil-rich regimes.”

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