Monday, 2 December 2013
Tuesday November 26, 2013 MYT 7:05:00 AM
KUALA LUMPUR: A human rights activist prosecuted for screening a controversial documentary without the Film Censorship Board’s approval has applied to dismiss the case, claiming that the charge is unconstitutional.
Pusat Komas programme coordinator Lena Hendry, 28, filed an application to the High Court registrar here to strike out the charge on the grounds that it contradicted Articles 8 and 10 of the Federal Constitution.
The application argued that the charge under the Film Censorship Act was unreasonable and disproportionate as it suppressed freedom of speech.
Her counsel New Sim Yew applied to the magistrate yesterday to have the proceedings in the lower court stayed pending the disposal of the application in the High Court.
But magistrate Ashraf Rezal Abdul Manan denied the stay, ruling that he required an order from the High Court to do so.
“As long as there is no order, it is my duty to ensure the case continues quickly and smoothly,” he said.
He added that a trial date could be set for several months from now to allow the matter to be resolved in High Court.
DPP Ooi Chean Ling did not object.
On Sep 19, Lena claimed trial to screening the documentary titled No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka, which the board had not approved for distribution or exhibition, at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall at about 9pm on July 3.
The film, directed by British national Callum Macrae, explores the oppression by the Sri Lankan government against Tamils during the Sri Lankan civil war.- Star, 26/11/2013, Activist: Charge over film's screening unconstitutional
International Commission of Jurists(ICJ) -“Subjecting Lena Hendry to criminal prosecution simply for screening a documentary violates her rights and contravenes Malaysia’s obligations to uphold freedom of expression,”
Malaysia: drop criminal charges against human rights defender Lena Hendry for screening “No Fire Zone” film
The ICJ is calling on the Malaysian Government to immediately drop the criminal charge against human rights defender Lena Hendry for screening the film ‘No Fire Zone: the Killing Fields of Sri Lanka.’
The case has been fixed for case management and the defence lawyers filed an application to set aside, permanently stay or quash the charges against Lena Hendry.
“Subjecting Lena Hendry to criminal prosecution simply for screening a documentary violates her rights and contravenes Malaysia’s obligations to uphold freedom of expression,” said Sam Zarifi, ICJ’s Asia-Pacific Regional Director.
On 3 July 2013, Pusat Komas, a Malaysian human rights advocacy organization where Lena Hendry works, and Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Civil Right Committee (KLSCAH CRC) screened the film “No Fire Zone”, a documentary on the war crimes and human rights abuses allegedly committed at the end of the Sri Lankan civil war in 2009.
Immediately following the screening, 30 officers from the Malaysian Ministry of Home Affairs and the police entered the hall and recorded the identity of all persons who attended the event.
The authorities then arrested Lena Hendry and two colleagues, Anna Har and Arul Prakash, and interrogated them for three hours at Dang Wangi police station.
On 19 September 2013, Lena Hendry was charged under section 6(1)(b) of the Film Censorship Act 2002 for showing a film that had not been approved by the Board of Censors.
If found guilty, she could be fined up to RM30,000 (approximately USD 9,322) and sentenced to up to three years imprisonment.
“The Malaysian government told the UN Human Rights Council during its universal periodic review that it maintains a ‘strong commitment to the rule of law, to upholding respect for human rights, and…widening the democratic space”, said Sam Zarifi. “That commitment is inconsistent with prosecuting human rights defenders for disseminating documentary human rights information.”
Under international law and standards, Malaysia must respect the right to freedom of expression of all persons, including the right to seek and impart information of all kinds.
In the case of human rights defenders, the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders imposes a special duty on States not only to respect this right, but also to protect those who exercise this right through their exposure of human rights violations.
The ICJ calls on the Malaysian Government to safeguard freedom of expression and uphold the right of individuals to expose and disseminate information on human rights questions, including the documentation of human rights abuses. - ICJ (International Commission of Jurists) , 26/11/2013, Malaysia: drop criminal charges against human rights defender Lena Hendry for screening “No Fire Zone” film
Today (25/11/2013) was a case management, below is the update
1) Lena's lawyer informed the court that an application to strike out the charges/case had been made to the High Court. The date for the hearing of this application has not been set yet, and we will inform all when we get details.
2) The Magistrate fixed March 17th 2014 for the final case management, and the trial dates have been fixed for 31st March - 4th of April 2014.Lena's lawyer New Sin Yew tried to ask for a suspension of proceedings in Magistrate Court pending the high court judgement on the striking out application, but the Magistrate refused saying that he will set the dates first and if there is any instructions from the High Court, he can always review the dates later.
Magistrate Court 6
Magistrate: Ashraf Razal Abdul Manan
Magistrate: Ashraf Razal Abdul Manan
Deputy Public Prosecutor: Chean Ooi Ling
Lena's Defence Team: New Sin Yew, Edmund Bon, Joshua Tay
Suhakam(Malaysian Human Rights Commission) - represented by Siti Kasim* European Union Delegation to Malaysia, represented by Mr Ivan, is following the case
** The news is that the American Bar Association (ABA)and the Bar Council will also be holding watching brief once the case starts