Hornbill Unleashed

June 6, 2017

Cynthia Gabriel to get NED’s 2017 Democracy Award

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:02 AM

Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) director Cynthia Gabriel has been chosen as one of this year recipients of the US-based National Endowment for Democracy (NED) 2017 Democracy Award.

In a ceremony at Capitol Hill on June 7, Cynthia will join four other activists from Afghanistan, Angola, Guatemala and Ukraine to receive the prestigious award.

The award highlights the courageous efforts of those who battle the scourge of official corruption in their respective countries.

Cynthia said she was surprised to receive NED’s 2017 Democracy Award, as an anti-corruption campaigner in “difficult situations”.

“The Democracy Award is a tremendous boost and recognition for C4 and the Malaysian civil society’s contributions to fight corruption and build a democratic society,” she said, before leaving for the United States last night.

“This is made more special at this juncture when the spaces we are working in seem to be dramatically closing in on us, and the environments in which we work have become more hostile,” she told Malaysiakini.

Describing the award as a “global lift”, Cynthia said it recognises the sacrifices of whistleblowers and human rights defenders, whose roles are key to fighting impunity, abuse of power and the scourge of corruption.

Scorpene submarines deal

Cynthia was part of the team in human rights NGO Suaram that filed a judicial review in the French court in 2011 on Malaysia’s purchase of two Scorpene submarines from France.

The NGO alleged that French-based naval defence firm DCNS, allegedly paid 114.9 million euro (RM452 million) in illegal commissions to Perimekar Sdn Bhd – a company partly owned by Abdul Razak Baginda, a close confidante of Prime Minister Najib Razak, who was then defence minister.

Abdul Razak has admitted receiving 30 million euros (RM137 million) for the submarine deal, but denied bribing Malaysian officials on behalf of the French company.

Cynthia and Suaram were also part of a probe under the Sedition Act, which activists have described as a “harassment”, for allegedly lying about the submarine deal that was inked on June 5, 2002.

In 2014, Cynthia founded C4, along with several other activists, and the NGO’s mission is to expose corrupt officials, focusing on Malaysia’s 1MDB scandal, which is the subject of investigations in several countries, including the United States, where the Department of Justice, which has initiated a civil suit against individuals alleged to have been involved in money laundering activities related to the fund.

Four other awardees

Meanwhile, according to the NED website, the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi will speak at the Capitol Hill presentation, while several other leading Members of Congress are expected to present the awards.

The website stated that the other four Democracy Award honourees are Khalil Parsa (Afghanistan), a key human rights advocate and anti-corruption leader from Herat; Rafael Marques de Morais (Angola), a renowned journalist and human rights defender; Claudia Escobar (Guatemala), a judge who not only refused to participate in corruption, but became the lead whistleblower in a case of grand corruption; and Denys Bihus (Ukraine), who leads TOM 14, a group of professional investigative journalists in Ukraine.

The five honourees are expected to attend another event dubbed “Counting the Cost: The impact of corruption on democratic growth and stability,” also on June 7, at NED’s Washington DC office, where US Senator Ben Cardin is confirmed as a keynote speaker.


Source : Malaysiakini by Susan Loone


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1 Comment »

  1. Congratulation Cyn,conveys regards to Trump

    Comment by Salim — June 6, 2017 @ 10:10 PM | Reply


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