PROMINENT international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney will join the legal team representing Maria Ressa, the award-winning Filipino journalist currently facing several criminal charges along with online news site Rappler.
“Maria Ressa is a courageous journalist who is being persecuted for reporting the news and standing up to human rights abuses. We will pursue all available legal remedies to vindicate her rights and defend press freedom and the rule of law in the Philippines,” Clooney said in a press statement released by London-based law firm Doughty Street Chambers.
According to the statement, Clooney will work with a team of international lawyers as Ressa’s counsel and coordinate with attorneys in Manila.
Ressa, named Person of the Year by Time Magazine in 2018, is the co-founder and editor of Rappler, which has gained distinction for its unflinching coverage of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war against illegal drugs. She has been arrested twice this year on cyber libel and tax evasion charges.
In a statement, Ressa said: “I am delighted that Amal Clooney and her team will be representing me at the international level to challenge the violations of my rights and those of the media organisation I represent.”
Clooney was appointed special envoy for media freedom by the British government. She has previously defended Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo who were jailed for more than 16 months in Myanmar under the country’s Official Secrets Act for reporting on a massacre of Rohingya civilians. They were freed in May.