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NGOs condemn disruption of movie screening Alfian ZM Tahir

2013 Jul 05

They claim violation of rights by KDN and police who tried to stop the showing of a documentary on the Sri Lanka civil war.

Several human rights groups have condemned the Home Ministry (KDN) and the police for disrupting a private screening of a documentary film at the Chinese Assembly Hall last night and harassing the organisers and audience.
Representatives of the KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Civil Right Committee (KLSCH CRC), Komas and Suaram told a press conference today that KDN officials and police barged into the screening room about 30 minutes after the start of the documentary, a British production about the Sri Lanka civil war entitled “No Fire Zone”.

“They came in and told us to stop the screening,” said Komas director Arul Prakash. “We didn’t stop. However, after the show, they insisted on checking the identity cards of all the participants. Why was there a need to ask the audience to produce ICs? It was ridiculous and an intimidation.”

The organisers said the enforcement team, numbering about 30, ordered them to go the Dang Wangi police station and they obeyed, thinking they merely had to get their statements recorded. However, to their surprise, they were informed that they were under arrest, they added.

“We asked the officers if we were being arrested, but at first they said ‘No,’” Prakash said. “We were informed we were under arrest only midway through the interrogation.

KLSCH Civil Committee chairman Liau Kok Fah said his organisation had earlier received a letter from the Sri Lankan embassy asking it not to screen the documentary.

“We received a fax from the embassy and we were accused of supporting terrorism,” Liau said. “They wanted us to stop the show, but why are they interfering in Malaysian NGO matters?

“We invited them to attend the show so we could get their side of story. But they never came.”

Prakash said Komas had told the Sri Lankan government through its embassy to hold a dialogue with the Malaysian public instead of hiding behind the government in Putrajaya in trying to repress free speech.

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