Amal Clooney, a well-known human rights lawyer, will lead the legal team that defends the Philippine journalist Maria Ressa, director of the Rappler portal and one of the biggest criticisms of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Ressa, elected one of the people of the year in 2018 by Time magazine, faces several criminal charges for tax evasion, defamation and for violating the laws of nationalization of the media, which she and several rights groups consider a "persecution "for his journalistic work.
"Maria Ressa is a brave journalist, persecuted for reporting on news and dealing with human rights abuses," Clooney, the wife of actor George Clooney, said in a statement issued by the law firm Doughty Street Chambers, for which he works. London.
The British-Lebanese lawyer said they will seek "all available legal resources to claim their rights and defend press freedom and the rule of law in the Philippines."
Clooney, together with lawyer Caoilfhionn Gallagher – both specialized in human rights and international law – will lead a team of international lawyers who will work in coordination with the Filipino lawyers who advise Ressa.
"I am delighted that Amal Clooney and her team represent me internationally to denounce the violations of my rights and the environment I represent," Ressa said in the same statement, which last year received the "Gwen Ifil" award the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York, as well as the "Knight Award" for international journalism in Washington.
Ressa, CNN's veteran ex-correspondent in Asia, has been arrested twice this year and has paid up to seven sureties to be released pending all pending trials.
The journalist and the management team of Rappler – born in 2012 who is already one of the most influential in the Philippines – claim that all these charges are an attempt to silence them and a punishment for their critical reporting with Duterte, especially about the abuses committed in his war on drugs.
The president has not hidden his animosity towards the press, and in particular towards Rappler, whom he has accused of being financed by the CIA, in addition to trying to revoke his license and deny access to the presidential palace to his journalists
Clooney, named special envoy for freedom of the media by the British government, also defended two Reuters journalists imprisoned for more than 16 months in Myanmar and released last May.
(tagsToTranslate) Amal (t) Clooney (t) Maria (t) Ressa (t) Duterte