Sunday, September 22, 2013

Activist charged with illegally screening No Fire Zone doco about Sri Lanka's 'Killing Fields'

Callum Macrae, filmmaker and journalist, has been at the forefront of a campaign to bring the government of Rajapaksa to the International Court of Justice for crime against humanity. Malaysiakini.tv spoke to Macrae about his film.

 From The Nation in Kuala Lumpur
 
A HUMAN rights activist has been charged at the magistrate's court in Kuala Lumpur with the screening of a controversial documentary, which was not cleared by the Film Censorship Board, on the alleged atrocities by the Sri Lankan army during the country's civil war.

An excerpt from the documentary was shown at AUT University in Auckland last week with the launching of the Asia-Pacific Human Rights Coalition (APHRC) in association with the Pacific Media Centre.


An Amnesty International spokesperson and other activists spoke at the Auckland meeting.

Lena Hendry, 28, a Komas programme coordinator, claimed trial to screening the film No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, Jalan Maharajalela, at 9pm on July 3, 2013.

She was charged under the Film Censorship Act 2002 and is liable to a maximum fine of RM30,000 (about NZ$11,000) or three years jail, upon conviction.


Magistrate Ashraf Rezal Abdul Manan granted her bail of RM1,000 (about NZ$380)  in one surety and fixed October 21 for mention.

DPP Muhammed Husaini Rusli prosecuted while New Sin Yew, Andrew Khoo and Joshua Tay represented Hendry.

Film screening raid
Hendry was arrested with two other coordinators, Anna Har and Arul Prakash, during a raid by the Home Ministry at the screening of the documentary on July 8, with Hendry the first to be produced in court.

The documentary covers the alleged war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan government during the civil war in 2009.

Komas is a movement for the Popular Communications for Human Rights in Malaysia.

Pacific Media Centre director Professor David Robie described this prosecution as “vindictive harassment in a clumsy attempt to gag debate around the shocking revelations in this documentary”.

He praised the Auckland-based APHRC for bringing it to the attention of New Zealand human rights advocates and the public.

“The human rights violations shown in this documentary should be shown and debated as widely as possible, especially with the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) summit coming up in Colombo in November," he said.

“The truth needs to be told.”

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