Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Komas activist charged with screening Sri Lankan civil war documentary in Malaysia

19 Sept 2013, NST

KUALA LUMPUR: A human rights activist claimed trial at the magistrate's court today to screening a documentary on the Sri Lankan civil war without prior approval from the Film Censorship Board.

A.H. Lena Rasathi, 27, allegedly screened the documentary "No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka" which the Board have not approved for distribution or exhibition.

She allegedly screened the film at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall at Jalan Maharajalela, Dang Wangi here around 9pm on July 3.

The offence is punishable with a maximum RM30,000 fine, imprisonment up to three years, or both, under Section 6(2)(a) of the Film Censorship Act 2002.

Prosecuting officer Muhamad Husaini Rosli, from the Home Ministry, applied for bail be set at RM5,000 with one surety.

Counsel New Sim Yew pleaded for the court to exercise its inherent power to release his client on a personal bond.

He said the prosecution has not shown that Lena is likely to abscond as she resides here with her family.

"She is a human rights activist for the last four years. It is her duty to fight state oppression.

"Let her word be her bond," he told the packed courtroom.

Lena is a Non-Discrimination Programme Coordinator with Pusat Komas, a human rights communications centre based in 8 Avenue, Jalan Sungai Jernih 8/1, Section 8, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

Counsel New also told the court they would be filing an application at the High Court to strike out the charge against her.

PO Muhamad Husaini told the court that the prosecution would leave it to its discretion on whether to grant bail or release the accused on a personal bond.

Magistrate Ashraf Rezal Abdul Maman granted RM1,000 bail with one surety and fixed Oct 21 for mention for the handing over of documents, pre-trial conference and case management.