Activist Lena Hendry has been acquitted of the charge of screening a film on the Sri Lankan killing fields, which had not been approved by the Censorship Board.
"The magistrate has found that the prosecution has failed to prove a prima facie case against her (Hendry) and has therefore acquitted her," Hendry's lawyer New Sin Yew said when met by reporters outside the Kuala Lumpur Magistrate’s Court after the decision was delivered today.
She was charged in September 2013 for allegedly screening 'No Fire Zone', a documentary on the Sri Lankan civil war, which had not been approved by the Censorship Board, and the trial started in December last year.
Under Section 6(1)(b) of Film Censorship Act, 2002, she would face up to three years’ jail or a fine not exceeding RM30,000, if convicted.
She was acccused of committing the offence at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Chamber of Commmerce Hall at Jalan Maharajalela in Kuala Lumpur at 9pm on July 3, 2013.
Expressing her relief and happiness, Hendry also reiterated that she should not have been charged in the first place as it was "a waste of time" for everyone involved.
"The government should stop doing this (charging activists) and let us do our work how we want to do it, so that things like this don't happen to others," she said.
In a separate statement today, Human Rights Watch deputy Asia director Phil Robertson commended the decision, saying that justice had finally been done.
"This was a politically motivated case that should never have been prosecuted in the first place, and was a blatant infringement on the right to freedom of expression," he said in the statement.
Instead of films being censored or banned, he said it was the strict limits of the Censorship Board that should be "snipped".