Friday, July 5, 2013

‘Sri Lankan government running scared’

‘Sri Lankan government running scared’

 | July 5, 2013 -FMT

Despite being invited, neither the High Commissioner nor his officers showed up for the 'No Fire Zone' movie screening, says KLCAH human rights chairman Liau Kok Fah.

PETALING JAYA: The Sri Lankan High Commission was invited to attend the screening of ‘No Fire Zone’ on July 3, said Kuala Lumpur Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) human rights chairman Liau Kok Fah.

He said that the Sri Lankan High Commissioner Ibrahim Ansar called that afternoon, urging him not to screen the movie on the premise that it was factually wrong.

“I told him it cannot be done as the event had already been publicised and it won’t look good for the Sri Lankan government if they interfered in the matter.

“However, I invited Ibrahim and his officers to attend the screening so that they can give their side of the story then and there. He agreed to it but none of his officers showed up,” said Liau.

About 30 policemen and Home Ministry officials gatecrashed the movie screening on Wednesday night and instructed the event organisers to give statements at the Dang Wangi district police headquarters.
“No Fire Zone” is a movie by British director Callum Macrae, depicting the war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan troops against ethnic Tamil minority in the final days of the nation’s civil war.

KLSCAH, Komas and Suaram criticised the Home Ministry of harassing them and urged the Sri Lankan High Commission not to hide behind Putarajaya in trying to suppress free speech.

Liau said that Ibrahim also argued that the movie was not approved by the Malaysian film censorship board but he dismissed it, saying it was screened in other countries with no hassle.

“The movie was screened in the United Kingdom and even at several events at the United Nations. So I don’t see why it cannot be screened,” he said.

Sri Lankan government running scared

It was also made known to FMT that the Sri Lankan High Commission had faxed two letters to KLSCAH on June 2 and 3.

The first letter was issued to KLSCAH president, Tan Yew Sing, requesting for a meeting and the second one is urging the premise owner to disallow the movie screening.

Meanwhile, Komas programme coordinator, Lena Hendry, said that three officers-bearers of the human rights group are being investigated under Section 6 of the Film Censorship Act 2002.

Those being investigated are Komas directors Anna Har, S Arul Prakash and Hendry.

“We were also told to attend a hearing at the magistrate’s court on Aug 6,” she said. If convicted, the trio face three years jail term and a fine, or both.

Hendry criticised the police and said the entire issue was politically motivated.

“We screened many movies on human rights in the past 11 years. Why all the fuss now?” she asked.

Hendry said the Sri Lankan government was afraid that many would come to know of the atrocities committed by the armed forces during the civil war if the movie was screened to the masses.

“They are afraid that international pressure may pile up on them for the war crimes,” said Hendry.

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