Activist’s case to be heard on Nov 7

KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 21, 2013): The case of human rights activist, Lena Hendry (pix), who was charged with screening a film that was not approved by the Film Censorship Board is set for case management on Nov 7.

Magistrate Ashraf Rezal Abdul Manan set the date today after noting the objection by Hendry's lawyer, Joshua Tay, on the delayed tendering of documents to the accused.

Hendry, 28, a staff with the human rights group Pusat Komas, is claiming trial to screening "No fire zone: The killing fields of Sri Lanka" at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall at about 9pm on July 3.

The charge is under section 6(1)(b) Film Censorship Act 2002 and is punishable under section 6(2)(a) of the same Act, which carries a maximum fine of RM30,000 or a three-year jail sentence or both.

Meanwhile, the international US-based NGO Human Rights Watch has called for the charges to be dropped immediately.

"Malaysia's willingness to block the showing of 'No fire zone: The killing fields of Sri Lanka" and prosecute Hendry makes it a disturbing partner for Sri Lanka in whitewashing wartime atrocities," said deputy Asia director Phil Robertson.

The film is an award-winning documentary about alleged war crimes by the Sri Lankan government during the final months of the country's civil war in 2009.

In its release on Sunday, Human Rights Watch noted that on Oct 24, Malaysia's human rights record will be under scrutiny during its Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council.

Furthermore, Malaysia will also be attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka on Nov 15-17.