The conviction of Pusat Komas programme coordinator Lena Hendry for her role in screening a documentary on the Sri Lankan civil war is uncalled for, said a DAP MP.
“The conviction of Lena Hendry does not make sense in today’s world where atrocities in any part of the world could be instantly accessed through various media outlets or mobile phone,” argued Ipoh Barat parliamentarian M Kulasegaran in a statement,
In this context, he said that censorship of reality is “foolish and incomprehensible” when the truth is practically out there for anyone with a phone.
The Malaysian government that is elected by its citizens should respect the freedom of its citizens to be in solidarity with oppressed communities around the world.
“Malaysia being part of a global system that has condemned atrocities in places like Palestine, Bosnia and lately on the faith of Rohingya in Myammar should not be selective in its comprehension of justice, by charging a human rights advocate who merely attempted to expose a crime against humanity that is beyond borders,” said Kula.
Kula said that Lena’s conviction also poses the danger of making the government seem like it tends to curtail truth about the atrocities by the Sri Lankan Army in the last days of its civil war, as opposed to other atrocities around the world.
He also noted that the documentary is not owned by Lena, therefore the charges do not hold under section 6 of the film censorship act, unless the government is going act to against all citizens who have documentaries that show atrocities around the world, in their mobile phones, that could be easily disseminated.
Furthermore he said, that the documentary was not technically screened to the public, but only to a select audience.
He related that the 96-minute documentary directed by Callum Macrae, which tells the story of the final months of the 26-year-old long Sri Lankan civil war, is an international phenomenon, a product of a three-year investigation.
“The content of the documentary is beyond the political issues of warring parties in the conflict, whether it is the Sri Lanka Government or the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
“It shows footage of direct evidence of war crimes, summary executions, torture and sexual violence against women and captured soldiers. It is basically an objective account of the war which shows the suffering and torture of the most vulnerable human beings,” Kula argued.
He concluded that the documentary by itself is no secret to the International audience. It has been credited with playing a key role in convincing United Nations human rights council in March 2014 to launch a major international war crimes investigation into the events in closing stages of the war.
Indeed, Kula noted that it had even been screened to Malaysian parliamentarians.
Source : @ Malaysiakini