Sunday, 22 September 2013

Proham Calls on KDN & AG to review its action against KOMAS Human Rights Defenders

Proham Calls on KDN & AG to review its action against KOMAS Human Rights Defenders

Proham calls on the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Attorney-General Chambers to review its position on Komas staff on the screening of the documentary “No Fire Zone, the Killing Fields of Sri Lanka” on July 3, 2013.

Proham is of the opinion that KDN is being misled by the Sri Lanka embassy representatives in Malaysia.

This investigatory documentary which was produced by an award-winning film maker, Callum Macrae was screened in March 2013 at the 22nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. Furthermore it was also screened at the committee room in the Australian Parliament on June 24, 2013. It is a well-researched documentary  
The Malaysian officials must be reminded that on March 21, 2013 the UN Human Rights Council took a vote calling the Sri Lanka government to conduct an independent and credible investigation into allegations of violations of international human rights.  25 countries supported the resolution, 13 were against and 8 absented including Malaysia.

Earlier on March 31, 2011,  in the report of the “UN Secretary General Panel of Experts on accountability in Sri Lanka”, indicated that “the Panel found credible allegations, which if proven indicates that a wide range of serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law as committed both by the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE”
Furthermore the theme of Callum Macrae documentary is consistent with the 2011 Jon Snow’s Channel 4 documentary entitled “Sri Lanka killing fields”

Therefore, Proham views this action by the Malaysian Government of charging the Komas staff as restricting the democratic space for reasonable public discussion a matter of great international concern and which has already secured the support of a majority of the Human Rights Council members which  the Sri Lanka government  is not complying with. 
The action by the Malaysian authorities seems irreverent as these documentaries, materials and discussions are now available on the social media and you-tube. The initiative by the Komas team is consistent with creating public awareness on international human rights violations and therefore a legitimate human rights activity, a theme that the Human Rights Council has openly discussed, decided upon and is well documented on its official website -(

The Home Affairs Ministry must review its position as it is in danger of taking a position contrary to Malaysia’s abstinence during the Geneva Human Rights Council meeting. It might also be found supporting a country which in the eyes of the Human Rights Commissioner and a majority of the Human Rights Council members might have committed major human rights violations on ordinary Sri Lankan citizens of Tamil ethnic origin.
Proham is of the view that the Home Ministry's   stand on Komas and the Sri Lankan ethnic conflicts   will   cause more   serious  domestic and especially  international  doubts  on Malaysia's claim to be  moderate  country  that is supportive  of  Human Rights.

Released on behalf of Proham by Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria (Proham Secretary General), Datuk Kuthbul Zaman Bukhari (Proham Exco) and Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam (Proham member)

Sept 19, 2013

Friday, 20 September 2013

Malaysia: Ms. Lena Hendry charged under the Film Censorship Act [The Observatory]

Malaysia: Ms. Lena Hendry charged under the Film Censorship Act

Last Update 20 September 2013

The Observatory has been informed by Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) that Ms. Lena Hendry, Programme Coordinator of the human rights NGO Pusat KOMAS[1], has been charged under the Film Censorship Act for organising a private screening of the documentary film called “No Fire Zone, the Killing Fields of Sri Lanka” on allegations of war crimes committed in Sri Lanka during the civil war in 2009.
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Malaysia.

New information:

According to the information received, on September 17, 2013, the Home Ministry (KDN) issued a notice informing Pusat KOMAS that Ms. Kena Hendry had to present herself on September 19 at the Kuala Lumpur Magistrate Court to be charged.

On September 19, 2013, the Home Ministry and Attorney General Chamber (AGC) filed a charge against Ms. Lena Hendry under Section 6 of the Film Censorship Act 2002 - which says no one should screen any film or related publicity materials that have not been approved by the Censorship Board. Judge Ashraf Razal Abdul Manan granted her bail of 1,000 ringgit, and set the next date for Ms. Hendry to appear in court to October 21, 2013. If convicted, Ms. Hendry is liable to a fine “of not less than five thousand ringgit and not more than thirty thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to both”.

The Observatory reiterates its call on the authorities of Malaysia to put an immediate end to the continuing judicial harassment of Ms. Lena Hendry, all Pusat KOMAS members as well as against all human rights defenders in the country, as it is arbitrary and seems to merely aim at sanctioning their legitimate human rights activities.

Background information:

In the evening of July 3, 2013, Pusat KOMAS, together with the KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Civil Right Committee (KLSCAH CRC), organised a private screening of “No Fire Zone” directed by British Director Callum Macrae. At about 8.30 pm, about 30 minutes after the start of the screening, about 30 officials of the KDN, immigration officials and the police entered the Chinese Assembly hall and requested to check the film. The organizers negotiated with them to allow the screening to continue and enter after the screening is over.

However, after the screening, said officials insisted on checking the identity cards of all participants before they left the venue. The KDN requested a copy of the film, which was provided by the organisers in soft copy. They also ordered the organisers - Ms. Anna Har, a member of KOMAS Board of Director, Mr. Arul Prakkash, KOMAS Executive Director, and Ms. Lena Hendry - to go to the Dang Wangi police station. The three asked whether they were being arrested, to which the officers replied no. However, during their interrogation, they were informed that they were placed under arrest. They were questioned for almost three hours by the investigating team from the KDN.

At about 2 am, the three KOMAS representatives were finally released on police bail after their statement was recorded. According to the information received, they should find out if they will be charged with any offences in 30 days. Reportedly, they were arrested upon the basis of Section 6 of the Film Censorship Act.

On July 1, 2013, Ms. Lena Hendry had received a call from the Censorship Board of the Ministry of Home Affairs, who asked the organisers to stop the screening because the film had not gone under censorship. She had replied that the screening was private and upon invitation only.

Furthermore, there were also strong attempts by the Sri Lankan Embassy in Malaysia to stop the screening. They faxed a letter to the KLSCAH asking them not to screen the documentary. Although they were invited to the screening they did not show up.

Mr. Tan Jo Hann, a member of the Board of Directors of Pusat KOMAS, was also subjected to acts of harassment in mid-July 2013[2].

Action requested:

Please write to the authorities in Malaysia, urging them to:

i. Put an end to any act of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Ms. Lena Hendry as well as against all KOMAS members and all human rights defenders in Malaysia;

ii. Ensure in all circumstances that KOMAS and its members as well as all human rights defenders in Malaysia are able to carry out their legitimate activities without any hindrance and fear of reprisals;

iii. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially:

- its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, as well as

- its Article 12.2, which provides that the State shall “take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of his or her rights”;

iv. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Malaysia.


· Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak, Prime Minister, Prime Minister’s Office Malaysia, Main Block, Perdana Putra Building, Federal Government Administrative Centre, 62502 Putrajaya, Selangor, Malaysia. Fax: + 60 3 8888 3444, Email:

· Mr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Minister of Home Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, Blok D1 & D2, Kompleks D, Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan, 62546 Putrajaya, Malaysia. Fax: +60 3 8889 1613 /8889 1610, Email:

· Tan Sri Hasmy Agam, Chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM), Tingkat 11, Menara TH Perdana, Jalan Sultan Ismail, 50250 Kuala Lumpur, 50250 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Fax: +60 3 2612 5620; Email:;

· H.E. Mr. Mazlan Muhammad, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Malaysia to the United Nations in Geneva, International Centre Cointrin (ICC), Bloc H (1st floor), Route de PrĂ©-Bois 20, 1215 Geneva 15, Switzerland. Fax: +41 22 710 75 01. Email:

· Embassy of Malaysia in Brussels, 414 A avenue de Tervueren, 1150 Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 762 50 49. Email:

Please also write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of Malaysia in your respective country as well as to the EU diplomatic missions or embassies in Malaysia.

Geneva-Paris, September 20, 2013

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, an OMCT and FIDH venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
• E-mail:
• Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
• Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

[1] Pusat KOMAS has existed since 1993 and it has been on the forefront of the advocacy for democracy & human rights in Malaysia through creative media. They have highlighted many human rights issues involving grassroots communities.

[2] See Observatory Urgent Appeal MYS 001 / 0713 / OBS 064.2, issued on July 18, 2013.

Source: fidh Website

CHARGE and sentence if convicted

Below, is the Charge made against Lena Hendry which had been translated into English. The actual wordings of the said Charge in Bahasa Malaysia as contained in the charge sheet is also included.


That you on 03.07.2013 at about 9.00 pm at Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, Jalan Maharajalela, 50460 Kuala Lumpur, in the district of  Dang Wangi, in the Federal Territory of  Kuala Lumpur did screen a film entitled No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka which have not yet been approved by the Board and as such committed a crime under Section 6(1)(b) Film Censorship Act 2002 and can be sentenced in accordance to Section 6(2)(a) of the same Act


Any person who is convicted for an offence under this section shall be liable to a fine of not less than five thousand ringgit and not more than thirty thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to both


Bahawa kamu pada 03.07.2013 jam lebih kurang 9.00 malam di Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, Jalan Maharajalela, 50460 Kuala Lumpur, di dalam daerah Dang Wangi, di dalam Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur didapati menayangkan filem bertajuk No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka yang belum diluluskan Lembaga dan dengan demikian telah melakukan kesalahan di bawah Seksyen 6(1)(b) Akta Penapisan Filem 2002 dan boleh dihukum di bawah Seksyen 6(2)(a) akta yang sama


Seseorang yang disabitkan atas suatu kesalahan di bawah seksyen ini boleh didenda tidak kurang daripada lima ribu ringgit dan tidak lebih daripada tiga puluh ribu ringgit atau dipenjarakan selama tempuh tidak melebihi tiga tahun atau kedua-duanya.

To see the wordings FILM CENSORSHIP ACT 2002 - Section 6, 3 and 2

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Komas activist charged for screening Sri Lanka film (FMT News, 19/9/2013)

Komas activist charged for screening Sri Lanka film

K Pragalath and G Lavendran | September 19, 2013 
Lena Hendry is accused of screening the documentary without approval from the Censorship Board. She has posted RM1,000 bail. Hearing is on Oct 21.

KUALA LUMPUR: Pusat Komas programme coordinator Lena Hendry was charged under section 6 (1) (b) of Film Censorship Act, 2002 at the Kuala Lumpur Magistrate Court, for allegedly screening a documentary that was not approved by the Censorship Board

The said legislation prohibits an individual from circulating, exhibiting, distributing displaying, manufacturing, producing, selling,  or hiring films or film publicity material that has not been approved by the Censorship Board.

If found guilty, she can be fined no less than RM 5,000 and not more than RM 30,000. Alternately she can be jailed for a period of three years.

Lena claimed trial and hearing starts on Oct 21. Lean has been released on a RM1,000 bail.

She was represented by New Sin Yew, Joshua Tay and Andrew Khoo. Mohd Husaini Rusli prosecuted on behalf of the AG.

Initially, Husaini proposed that Lena should be allowed bail at RM5,000 but New argued that the charge was unconstitutional and violated freedoms of expression and association.

“Plus, the prosecution also failed to show that the accused has intent to abscond. She has deep roots in Kuala Lumpur and is a human rights activist,” New said in his defence argument.

New also criticised the Film Censorship Act saying that the law goes against freedom of expression.
Upon hearing both sides of the argument, magistrate Ashraf Rezal Abdul Manan fixed Hendry’s bail at  RM1,000.

On July 3, three Pusat Komas activists – Anna Har, Arul Prakkash and Lena – were arrested in a raid by the Home Ministry when they attempted to screen the controversial documentary ‘No Fire Zone’ at the Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall.

‘No Fire Zone’ is a documentary directed by British national Callum Macrae, depicting war crimes committed by Sri Lankan army against ethnic Tamil minority in the final days of the nation’s 30 year civil war.
The Komas  trio were detained overnight at the Dang Wangi district police headquarters and released on police bail the following day.

Selective persecution

Meanwhile when met outside the courtroom, Komas director Tan Jo Hann criticised government’s selective persecution.

“It is a draconian law that the government used for their bullying tactics.

“It is an overkill to send 40 to 50 officers to raid the hall during the screening,” he said.

He said that the very act of prosecuting Lena was a travesty of justice which would result in Malaysia being a laughing stock in the international community.

Tan also questioned why there was no action against the movie Tanda Putera which he deemed as discriminatory and racist in nature.

Co-counsel Andrew Khoo meanwhile revealed that the documentary was also shown to parliamentarians on the same day.

“Why can the MPs watch it but the public can’t?” he asked.

He also called upon KL War Crimes Tribunal to prosecute the Sri Lankan government.

“Instead of going after former US president George Bush, why not go after Sri Lanka?  The government seemed to have a contradictory approach,” he said.

Let Lena go, reprimand Sri Lankan envoy

In another development, DAP national vice chairman M Kulasegaran urged the government to drop the case against Lena, and in turn reprimand the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Malaysia, Ibrahim Ansar.

Kulasegeran claimed that Ibrahim, in a letter to Putrajaya, had labelled Komas as a “group made up of LTTE sympathizers” and had requested the Foreign Ministry to disallow the screening of the documentary.

“The letter is basically an attempt to the hide the truth behind the indiscriminate killings of our fellow men.

“Moreover, it is of childish nature and an insult to human rights to label Komas as LTTE sympathizers,” he said.

Kulasegaran claimed that the documentary itself neither represents a movie sympathising the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) nor civilians alike.

“The documentary only looks into human rights and the justification of the killings that took place at the point of time.

Kulasegaran also said that Komas had actually extended an invitation to Ibrahim and his officials to attend the screening, allowing him to explain the Sri Lankan government’s side of the story.

“Ibrahim had accepted the invitation and confirmed his attendance for the screening.

“However, on the day of the screening, there were no officials from the Sri Lankan High Commission. Instead, 30-40 officers from the Home Ministry raided the venue demanding Komas to discontinue the screening,” he added. - FMT News, 19/9/2013,  Komas activist charged for screening Sri Lanka film

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Staf Komas didakwa kes tayang filem Sri Lanka (Harakah Daily, 18/9/2013)

Staf Komas didakwa kes tayang filem Sri Lanka

Harakahdaily, 18 Sep 2013
KUALA LUMPUR: Pegawai Program Komas Lena Hendry berdepan pendakwaan berhubung penayangan filem “No Fire Zone" sebuah dokumentari pembunuhan beramai-ramai di Sri Lanka, Julai lalu.

Menurut satu kenyataan Komas hari ini, Lena diminta hadir ke Mahkamah Majistret Kuala Lumpur pada hari esok, 19 September, 2013.

"KDN telah mengeluarkan notis memaklumkan kepada Komas bahawa Lena Hedry akan didakwa dan dia diminta untuk hadir di mahkamah Majistret pada 19 September 2013 untuk didakwa di bawah akta penapisan filem," kata Tan Jo Hann, Pengarah Pusat Komas dalam satu kenyataan.

Pada 3 Julai lalu, Lena bersama Pengarah Eksekutif Komas Arul Prakkash dan seorang Ahli Lembaga Pengarah Komas Anna Har ditahan ketika tayangan filem “No Fire Zone, the Killing Fields of Sri Lanka”.

Penanahanan itu dibuat dalam serbuan oleh Kementerian Dalam Negeri (KDN), Polis dan Jabatan Imigresen.

Filem “No Fire Zone, Killing Fields Sri Lanka" adalah sebuah filem dokumentari yang memaparkan pencabulan hak asasi manusia di Sri Lanka yang dikenakan oleh kerajaan dan ketenteraan terhadap rakyat.

Menurut Komas, ketika serbuan pada hari tayangan tersebut 3 Julai lalu, wakil kedutaan Sri Lanka turut hadir untuk menghentikan penayangan.

"Ini adalah satu bentuk gangguan dan pelanggaran langsung kepada kebebasan bersuara, berhimpun dan berpersatuan oleh pihak berkuasa Malaysia.

"Adalah menyedihkan bahawa Malaysia yang merupakan anggota Majlis Hak Asasi Manusia sebenarnya harus menjadi pembela bukannya menzalimi aktivis hak asasi manusia," kata Jo Hann.