The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Malaysia.
The Observatory has been informed about the attempts to intimidate Malaysian human rights lawyer Mr. Charles Hector for his work representing eight defendants who are opposing logging activities in the Jerantut Permanent Forest Reserve in Pahang State.
On January 14, 2021, Malaysian companies Beijing Million Sendirian Berhad Sdn Bhd and Rosah Timber & Trading Sendirian Berhad filed an application to the Kuantan High Court in Pahang State to commence contempt proceedings against Mr. Hector and his eight clients. On March 25, 2021, the court adjourned contempt proceedings against Mr. Hector and his eight clients to April 6, 2021 and then, again, to April 8, 2021. If found guilty of contempt, Mr. Hector could face a prison sentence, a fine, and/or the revocation of his licence to practice law. In the absence of a Contempt of Court Act, the court has complete discretion over the type of penalty that it can impose.
Please write to the authorities of Malaysia, urging them to:
i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Mr. Charles Hector and all other human rights defenders in Malaysia;
ii. Put an end to all acts of harassment – including at the judicial level – against Mr. Charles Hector, his clients, and all other human rights defenders in Malaysia, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate activities and exercise their rights without any hindrance and fear of reprisals.