Court acquits activist of screening Sri Lanka war documentary without approval

Activist Lena Hendry was charged under Section 6(1)(b) of the Film Censorship Act 2002 for screening ‘No Fire Zone’ without the approval from the Censorship Board. ― File pic
Activist Lena Hendry was charged under Section 6(1)(b) of the Film Censorship Act 2002 for screening ‘No Fire Zone’ without the approval from the Censorship Board. ― File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, March 10 ― Activist Lena Hendry was acquitted today of censorship charges over the screening of a documentary on the Sri Lankan civil war in 2013.

In his ruling, Magistrate Mohd Rehab Mohd Aris said that the prosecution failed to establish a “prima facie” case against Hendry and thus Hendry need not enter her defence.

She was charged under Section 6(1)(b) of the Film Censorship Act 2002 for screening No Fire Zone without the approval from the Censorship Board.

The activist would have faced a maximum of three years’ jail or a fine not exceeding RM30,000 or both upon conviction,

Lawyer New Sin Yew, who represented Hendry, was thankful that the court agreed with their arguments against what he described as a “frivolous” charge.

Hendry also said that the charge was a “waste of time” for the courts, for and everyone involved.

“They should allow human rights defenders like us to do our jobs,” she said.

Separately, Human Rights Watch deputy director (Asia) Phil Robertson said “justice was done” in the acquittal.

“This was a politically motivated case that should never have been prosecuted in the first place, and a blatant infringement on the right to freedom of expression,” he said in a statement.

He said that “no one” should go through an experience similar to the one Hendry faced.

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