Human rights activist Lena Hendry, prosecution withdraw their appeals

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has struck out an appeal by the prosecution against the sentence meted out to human rights activist Lena Hendry for screening a Sri Lankan civil war documentary that had not been approved by the Censorship Board.

Justice Mohd Sofian Abd Razak made the order after Deputy Public Prosecutor Zalina Awang @ Mamat informed the court that the prosecution had agreed to withdraw its appeal for a higher sentence against Hendry, 32.

Justice Mohd Sofian also struck out the cross-appeal by Hendry against her conviction and sentence.

He later recorded the withdrawal and struck out the appeals by both parties.

Earlier, Hendry's counsel New Sin Yew said that his client was currently doing her Masters degree in Britian after she obtained a scholarship in September.

On March 22, Hendry was fined RM10,000 by magistrate Mohd Rehan Mohd Aris after she was found guilty of  screening the documentary.

The film, No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka, directed by British national Callum Macrae, explores the alleged oppression of Tamils by the Sri Lankan government.

Hendry was said to have committed the offence at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall on Jalan Maharajalela here at 9pm on July 3, 2013.

The charge under Section 6(1)(b) of the Film Censorship Act 2002 carries a jail term of up to three years or a fine of up to RM30,000 or both if convicted.

Meanwhile, Hendry said via a message that she welcomed the prosecution's decision to withdraw the case and thanked everyone who had supported her.

She said she decided to withdraw her appeal because there were "bigger battles to be fought outside, without draining my energy in long, drawn-out court proceedings".

"I am currently overseas doing my masters in Human Rights and would like to spend more time focusing on that," she said.

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