Human Rights Watch has called upon the Malaysian government to drop charges against an activist for holding a screening of 'No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka'.
Lena Hendry from the group Pusat KOMAS, was held under charges from the the Film Censorship Act after screening the film on the 3rd of July at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall in Malaysia. HRW reported that the Sri Lankan government communicated with the Malaysian government in an attempt to halt the screening of the film.
Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch stated,
“Malaysia’s willingness to block the showing of ‘No Fire Zone’ and prosecute Hendry makes it a disturbing partner for Sri Lanka in whitewashing wartime atrocities”.
“Malaysia should turn these missteps into an opportunity to join the many governments that are seeking a measure of justice for the Sri Lankan war’s many victims."
“Malaysian authorities are flipping the switch off on basic freedoms by threatening to jail someone for showing a documentary.”
“They should immediately drop the charges against Lena Hendry and find a way to undo the damage to Malaysia’s cultural reputation.”
Referring to the upcoming CHOGM meet, Robertson addded,
"Malaysia’s carrying Sri Lanka’s torch just weeks before the Commonwealth meeting suggests political expediency trumping respect for free speech".
Read their full statement here.