On 10/3/2016, she was acquitted by the Magistrate Court
But the government did not let go, and the prosecution appealed to the High Court...and on 21/9/2016, the High Court allowed the appeal, andActivist 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,...
Not sure whether there was an appeal to the Court of Appeal, but in any event , the trial at the Magistrate's Court continued, and Lena Hendry has now been found guilty...Judicial Commissioner Shariff Abu Samah set aside the Magistrate Court’s order which acquitted Lena in March at the end of the prosecution’s case...The High Court ordered Lena Hendry, an activist, to enter defence
Read more at http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/02/21/activist-lena-hendry-disappointed-over-conviction/#Cr0umC5heUWR3EFs.99
21 February 2017
Furthermore an attempt to punish an individual for allegedly screening ‘No Fire Zone’ is contemptible to say the least as the act of preventing the screening tantamounts to protecting those who may have committed crime against humanity. if the Malaysian government seeks to protect others against genocide and crime against humanity, why is it now complicit in protecting those who may have commited crime against humanity.
SUARAM reiterate our strongest condemnation against the repression of freedom of expression by the Malaysian government and stand in solidarity with Lena Hendry in her fight for human rights and democracy!
Malaysia: Convicted for Showing a Film
Prosecution of Lena Hendry Violates Right to Free Expression
(Bangkok, February 22, 2017) – A Malaysian court’s conviction of rights activist Lena Hendry for her role in showing a documentary film violates her right to freedom of expression, Human Rights Watch said today. On February 21, 2017, a Kuala Lumpur court found Hendry guilty of organizing a private screening of the award-winning human rights documentary, “No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka,” without censorship board approval nearly four years ago. She will be sentenced on March 22, and faces fines and up to three years in prison.
“It’s an outrageous assault on basic free expression that Lena Hendry could go to prison for helping to show a documentary film,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “This prosecution is part of the Malaysian government’s disturbing pattern of harassment and intimidation of those seeking to raise public awareness of human rights issues.”
Hendry, a former staff member of the human rights group Pusat KOMAS, was convicted under section 6 of Malaysia’s Film Censorship Act, which prohibits the “circulation, distribution, display, production, sale, hire” or “possession” of any film, whether imported or domestically produced, without first obtaining approval from the government-appointed Board of Censors. Malaysia’s highest court rejected a constitutional challenge to the law in September 2015. A magistrate acquitted her of the charge in March 2016, finding that the government had failed to make a basic case showing her guilt. On September 21, 2016, the High Court reversed Hendry’s acquittal and ordered a resumption of the case after the government appealed.
Bringing criminal penalties for possessing or privately showing a film without government approval violates freedom of expression by imposing a disproportionate burden on a fundamental right, Human Rights Watch said.
The Film Censorship Act is rarely invoked, and Pusat KOMAS regularly screens films on politics, human rights, culture, and other issues without censorship board approval, with admission by pre-registration only.
The prosecution in this case appears to have been 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 on the day of the film’s showing to urge the venue’s managers to cancel the event. “No Fire Zone” tells the story of war crimes committed in the last months of Sri Lanka’s civil war in 2009, including Sri Lankan army shelling that indiscriminately killed thousands of civilians and the extrajudicial executions of captured fighters and supporters of the secessionist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
“The Film Censorship Act violates rights by giving the government the power to arbitrarily suppress films it doesn’t want Malaysians to see, and to prosecute those who dare to show them,” Robertson said. “Malaysia should scrap this draconian law’s criminal penalties, revise it to comply with international rights standards, and allow Malaysian citizens to view films of their choosing.”
For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Malaysia, please visit: https://www.hrw.org/asia/