Home Civil Society Voices 2013 Civil Society Voices Sri Lanka civil war film screening: Now Charles Hector questioned

Sri Lanka civil war film screening: Now Charles Hector questioned

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Charles Hector was taken aback when a Home Ministry investigation officer dropped by at his home yesterday to record a statement.

A panel of speakers at the film screening – Photograph: Komas

With regard to the investigation concerning the screening of a video at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, for which three persons were arrested, I had a visit at my home in Temerloh by one Adilah binti Bakri, the Investigating Officer from the Home Ministry (Bahagian Kawalan Penapisan Filem dan Penguatkuasaan/Filem Censorship and Enforcement section) yesterday (18 July 2013) for the purpose of taking/recording a statement from me as part of the investigation.

I thank Ahmad Nizam, a lawyer, for taking the time to come speedily within half and hour and be present during the questioning which started at about 11.30am and lasted more than an hour.

Honestly, I believe that this arrest and investigation for the screening of some documentary on issues in Sri Lanka is ‘selective persecution’ and a deterioration of democratic space.

I remember attending many events where videos and movies about Palestine, Gaza, etc were all screened, some of which also involved persons from government, ruling BN, who facilitated this and/or attended the programme. I believe that all these videos/DVDs did not have to first pass through the film censorship board before they were screened and circulated. So, why now after GE13 are the authorities doing this?

Who lodged the complaint? I thought that it was someone from the current Sri Lankan government, but interestingly it was not – but an officer from Malaysia.

I have not seen this documentary, which I believe is also freely available online, and I do hope that the authorities just discontinue their investigation and ‘drop it’ for it goes against the trend for the need for more democratic space and freedom in Malaysia.

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Note: Charles Hector was one of the founding partners of Komas along with Tan Jo Hann (though the partnership is now defunct in reality).

Jo Hann reports on Facebook: “After giving me notice as Komas director to give a statement on Monday, KDN also searched out former Komas board member Charles Hector and KLSCAH rep Liau Kok Fah for their statements too. This is highly unnecessary and harassment under the guise of investigation all because of a film screening! Waste of taxpayers’ money and violation of rights under Article 10 of the Malaysian Constitution.”

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