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Tuesday, 29 May, 2001, 17:57 GMT 18:57 UK
Saddam accused of stealing artwork
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein
It seems Saddam Hussein wrote Zabibah and the King
By Diane Pain in Toronto

A Canadian artist is claiming that Saddam Hussein has appropriated one of his works of art.

Jonathon Earl Bowser, of Prince Edward Island in eastern Canada, claims the cover art is a painting he did in 1998. It is posted on his website and protected by copyright.

The artwork, entitled The Awakening, graces the cover of a romantic allegorical novel purportedly written by the Iraqi president.


A couple of my dedicated fans have apparently... read the New York Times and they sent me an inquiry asking if... if I had authorised the Iraqi dictator to use my work on his novel, which I certainly had not done

Artist Jonathon Earl Bowser
A recent article in the New York Times questioned whether Saddam Hussein was really the author of Zabibah and the King. Two Arab newspapers appear to think so.

And the CIA, while not being totally convinced that it is all his own work, believes the Iraqi president supervised its production and filled it with his own words and ideas.

The book is being distributed through a shop in London.

The cover portrays a beautiful woman stepping through a large gateway. She is surrounded by butterflies and doves.

Copyright infringement

"A couple of my dedicated fans have apparently... read the New York Times and they sent me an inquiry asking if... if I had authorised the Iraqi dictator to use my work on his novel, which I certainly had not done," said Mr Bowser.

The Awakening by Jonathon Earl Bowser
The Awakening was painted by Canadian artist Jonathon Earl Bowser
Canadian lawyers have said that while Iraq is not party to any international copyright conventions, England is, and because the book is being distributed through London, Mr Bowser could have a case in a copyright infringement suit.

The artist is also being told he could have moral rights.

The lawyers say an author has the right to prevent a work from being altered or mutilated to the prejudice of his reputation, or used in association with a service or a product that could be prejudicial.

Mr Bowser said his publisher is looking into the matter.

He has notified the New York Times and he is thinking about notifying the CIA - but said that as yet he had no plans to contact Saddam Hussein.

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