Lena Hendry / photo: freemalaysiatoday.com

UN Human Rights Office concerned by Malaysia conviction over film screening

By UN Human Rights South East Asia

BANGKOK – The UN Human Rights Office for South-East Asia is concerned by a Malaysian court’s conviction of human rights activist Lena Hendry over a private screening of a documentary on the Sri Lankan civil war, and the chilling effect on the exercise of freedom of expression and assembly.

Hendry was found guilty on 21 February of showing the film ‘No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka’ which had not been approved by the Malaysian Censorship Board. She will be sentenced on March 22, and faces fines and up to three years in prison.

“Lena Hendry’s conviction for showing a film is a clear violation of her right to freedom of expression and assembly , and we urge the authorities to re-examine the case in line with international human rights law,” said Laurent Meillan, acting regional representative of OHCHR’s South-East Asia regional office.

The UN Special Rapporteurs on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, peaceful assembly and association, and on the  situation of human rights defenders have expressed their concerns about the case brought against Hendry.