Malaysian activist to enter defence over screening Lanka film

000gavelHuman rights activist Lena Rasathi Hendry in Malaysia is to enter her defence to a charge of screening a documentary on the Sri Lankan civil war without prior approval from the Film Censorship Board, the New Straits Times reported.

Lena was calm in the dock this afternoon when the High Court issued the ruling that overturned her acquittal in relation to the unapproved screening of the documentary “No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka”.

The 31-year-old was accused of committing the offence at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall in Malaysia, at 9pm on July 3.

She was freed at the end of the prosecution’s case by the Magistrate’s Court on March 10.

In a brief oral ruling today, High Court judicial commissioner Datuk Mohamad Shariff Abu Samah said that the prosecution had succeeded in proving a prima facie case against Lena.

“The (High) Court orders Lena Hendry Rasathi to enter her defence on the charge,” said Shariff, and ordered the matter be reverted to the Magistrate’s Court.

After proceedings, Lena was seen conferring with her lead counsel Edmund Bon Tai Soon. Deputy public prosecutor Nurakmal Farhan Aziz prosecuted. On Sept 19, 2013, Lena claimed trial to the offence which 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.

Lena is a Programme Manager with Pusat Komas, a human rights communications centre based in 8 Avenue, Jalan Sungai Jernih 8/1, Section 8, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. (Colombo Gazette)