Komas programme manager Lena Hendry was fined RM10,000 or ordered to spend a year in jail by a magistrate’s court in Kuala Lumpur today for screening the documentary on the Sri Lankan civil war titled ‘No Fire Zone’ four years ago.
Magistrate Mohd Rehan Mohd Aris said he made the decision after considering the mitigating factors.
Hendry paid the fine later in the afternoon.
Earlier in court, she was ordered to pay the fine by today. This was after her lawyer New Sin Yew asked for a deferment for it to be paid tomorrow.
Hendry was found guilty on Feb 21, for screening the documentary at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Chamber of Commerce Hall at Jalan Maharajalela in Kuala Lumpur, at 9pm on July 3, 2013.
She faced up to three years’ jail or a fine not exceeding RM30,000, under Section 6(1)(b) of the Film Censorship Act, 2002.
Malaysia and indeed the Sri Lankan Government pay vast sums for PR and related services, usually from third-rate ex-British journalists, each year.
Yet for just RM10,000 Lena Hendry has achieved not just national but world-wide publicity for a film about a subject that deserves to be known about, but which Sri Lanka would rather cover up.
What’s more she has internationally further exposed the hypocrisy and corrupt thuggishness of Najib Razak’s own government in the process.
Thankfully, the judges showed more sense than government prosecutors, by commuting her punishment to a fine. However, also in the process they revealed how Malaysia’s primitive legal system still allows for one punishment for the rich and one for the poor.
If Lena could not put her hand immediately into her pocket to find that RM10,000 (a small sum for any BN party aparachik) she would have been cast into jail for a year for showing that film. Friends will doubtless assist in this case, but such disgusting discrimination against the already impoverished will dismay all decent people.
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