Thursday, March 10, 2016

HR Defender Lena Hendry Acquitted by Court - Draconian law remains..?

Human Rights Defender Lena Hendry have been acquitted by the court, without Defence being called.

ARTICLE 19, ALIRAN, PROHAM, NUBE,WH4C & 111 Others say Drop Charges against Lena Hendry

Lena Hendry - Drop Charges says ICJ, Article 19, FIDH, Front Line, OMCT & 116 other groups

HRD Lena Hendry - 10/3/2016 - Court decides on ACQUITAL or Enter Your Defence - call your witnesses?

There was a strong campaign, which also included online petitions, joint statements and other actions. We have a success today... 

BUT alas, that draconian law under which Lena was charged still exist - and we need to call for it to be repealed.. It makes 'sale, hire, distribution, public exhibition or circulation' of CD/DVD/etc an offence, unless the it has got approval of the Film Censorship Board. 

It is discriminatory law as it does not apply to that which are sponsored by the Federal Government or the Government of any State'. 

It is anti- Human Rights Defenders, and the people of Malaysia as it can also be used for wedding videos, etc.. Well, when we have ASTRO or Satelite TV, it is an absurd law - as it really is meant to target HR Defenders and ordinary you and me..

This provision need to repealed...


ACT 620

Section 6  Unapproved film or film-publicity material.
(1) No person shall-
(a) have in his possession or in his custody or under his control; or
(b) circulate, exhibit, distribute, display, manufacture, produce, sell or hire,
any film or film-publicity material which has not been approved by the Board.

For a deeper look at the law, see the relevant sections in Malaysian law that was used. To see the Charge and sentence if convicted, follow the links.

Lena Hendry may be acquitted, but for so long as this draconian law exists, which also goes against the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, it can be abused and used to silence HRDs. 

What is more interesting, is that Malaysia on 26/11/2015, things changed for Malaysia, when it together with 116 Member States voted yes on the resolution, entitled “Recognizing the role of human rights defenders and the need for their protection,” In so doing, Malaysia also automatically accepted United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (commonly known as the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders). See

AG Apandi Ali, proceeding with HR Defender Lena Hendry's trial after 26/11/2015 inconsistent with Malaysia's new position?

As such, Malaysia must repeal this law/provision and all other laws that are inconsistent with Malaysia's publicly declared position in accepting the principles contained in the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders..

The struggle continues...


Activist acquitted over Sri Lanka killing fields screening

Geraldine Tong     Published     Updated     

Activist Lena Hendry has been acquitted of the charge of screening a film on the Sri Lankan killing fields, which had not been approved by the Censorship Board.

"The magistrate has found that the prosecution has failed to prove a prima facie case against her (Hendry) and has therefore acquitted her," Hendry's lawyer New Sin Yew said when met by reporters outside the Kuala Lumpur Magistrate’s Court after the decision was delivered today.

She was charged in September 2013 for allegedly screening 'No Fire Zone', a documentary on the Sri Lankan civil war, which had not been approved by the Censorship Board, and the trial started in December last year.

Under Section 6(1)(b) of Film Censorship Act, 2002, she would face up to three years’ jail or a fine not exceeding RM30,000, if convicted.

She was acccused of committing the offence at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Chamber of Commmerce Hall at Jalan Maharajalela in Kuala Lumpur at 9pm on July 3, 2013.

Expressing her relief and happiness, Hendry also reiterated that she should not have been charged in the first place as it was "a waste of time" for everyone involved.

"The government should stop doing this (charging activists) and let us do our work how we want to do it, so that things like this don't happen to others," she said.

In a separate statement today, Human Rights Watch deputy Asia director Phil Robertson commended the decision, saying that justice had finally been done.

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

Instead of films being censored or banned, he said it was the strict limits of the Censorship Board that should be "snipped". - Malaysiakini, 10/3/2016
Activist discharged, acquitted over Sri Lankan civil war documentary screening 

By KHAIRAH N. KARIM - 10 March 2016 @ 11:57 AM KUALA LUMPUR:

Activist Lena Hendry Rasathi Hendry was freed by the magistrate's court without having her defence called over her uncensored Sri Lanka genocide documentary screening three years ago. 

In delivering his verdict, magistrate Mohd Rehan Mohd Aris said the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case against the accused. 

"After considering the evidence presented before the court during trial, the court finds that the prosecution failed to prove its case. The accused is therefore acquitted and discharged," he said. 

A total of eight prosecution witnesses were called to the stand to testify in the five-day trial. Lena, who was also Community Communication Centre (Komas) programme coordinator, was charged on Sept 19, 2013 with screening an uncensored film, 'No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka' at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall at Jalan Maharajalela here at 9pm on July 3, 2013. 

The charge under Section 6(1)(b) of the Film Censorship Act 2002 carries a jail term of up to three years or a fine of up to RM30,000 or both if convicted. 

When met outside the court, Lena said she was happy with the decision. "It has been a long journey as this case had been going on for two and a half years. In the first place, they should not have charged me," she said. 

Her lawyer New Sin Yew said the charge against his client was frivolous and of no basis. Deputy public prosecutor Muhammad Farith Muhammad Faizal prosecuted. 67 reads Lena Hendry Rasathi Hendry (right) and her lawyer New Sin Yew at Kuala Lumpur Magistrate’s Court. NSTP Pix.- New Straits Times, 10/3/2016

Magistrates court acquits and discharges activist Lena Hendry

KUALA LUMPUR: The Magistrates court acquitted and discharged activist Lena Hendry of a charge of showing a documentary on Sri Lanka civil war without approval from Censorship Board in 2013.

Magistrate Mohd Rehan Mohd Aris said the court found that the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against her, and Lena was not required to enter defence.

On Sept 19 last year, Hendry, who is the programme coordinator for human rights group Pusat Komas, claimed trial to a charge of illegally screening "No Fire Zone: the Killing Fields of Sri Lanka".

She was charged under Section 6(1)(b) of Film Censorship Act 2002, which carries a jail term of up to three years or a fine not exceeding RM30,000 if convicted.

It was reported that on July 3, 2013, Hendry, and two Pusat Komas activists Anna Har and Arul Prakkash, were arrested in a raid by the Home Ministry, when they attempted to screen the controversial documentary.

Outside of court, Hendry expressed relief that the charge has been dropped against her, noting that the charge was a 'waste of time for those involved in it'.

Counsel New Sin Yew represented Hendry while Deputy Public Prosecutor Muhammad Farith Muhammad Faizal prosecuted. - The Sun Daily, 10/3/2016

Thursday, 10 March 2016 | MYT 11:10 AM

Activist acquitted of screening controversial Sri Lankan film

The British-made documentary explores the alleged oppression of Tamils by the Sri Lankan government.

In acquitting Lena Hendry, Magistrate Mohd Rehan Mohd said the prosecution failed to show a prima facie case against her.

Hendry's lawyer, New Sin Yew, said he was grateful that the court agreed with their argument.

“We have been maintaining since the first day that the charge against her is frivolous as it has no basis,” said New.

Hendry was seen beaming with joy as she made her way out of the court.

“I am happy that the court dropped the case as it has been long journey. They should not have charged me. It has been such a waste of time for the court and us," Hendry told reporters on Thursday.

Eight prosecution witnesses were called throughout the five day trial which began in December last year until January.

Hendry claimed trial in a Magistrate’s court on Sept 19, 2013 to illegally screening “No Fire Zone”.

She was charged under Section 6(1)(b) of Film Censorship Act, 2002 which carries up to three years’ jail or a fine not exceeding RM30,000, if convicted.

Hendry filed the application at the High Court registry to quash the charge on Nov 25, 2014.

On July 3, 2013, Hendry and two other Pusat Komas activists – Anna Har and Arul Prakkash – were arrested in a raid by the Home Ministry when they tried to screen the controversial documentary. - Star, 10/3/2016

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