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Malaysia must drop charges over No Fire Zone screening - HRW

The Malaysian authorities must drop charges against an activist for her role in screening the award-winning documentary film ‘No Fire Zone’ without censorship board approval, said Human Rights Watch.

In a statement released on Monday, said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch said,

“Prosecuting someone for the private showing of an award-winning film shows how determined Malaysian authorities are to stomp on the right to free expression… The government should call off its intensifying assault on free expression and promptly amend the Film Censorship Act.”

Lena Hendry, a staff member of the human rights group Pusat KOMAS, was charged over the film screening in July 2013 and faces up to three years in prison if found guilty of breaching the Film Censorship Act.

“The charges against Hendry appear to have been primarily motivated by the Malaysian government’s desire to appease Sri Lankan embassy officials, who had publicly demanded that the film not be shown and visited the venue, the Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, on the day of the film’s showing to urge the venue’s managers to cancel the event,” said Human Rights Watch.

““No Fire Zone” concerns war crimes committed in the last months of Sri Lanka’s civil war, including Sri Lankan army artillery attacks that indiscriminately killed thousands of civilians and the extrajudicial executions of captured fighters and supporters of the secessionist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam,” it added.

See our earlier posts:

'No Fire Zone' screening organisers to be charged in Malaysia (18 Sep 2013)

Malaysian No Fire Zone screening raided by police (03 Jul 2013)