Clooney to defend Ressa
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - July 10, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Prominent rights lawyer Amal Clooney has said she will join the legal team defending Philippine journalist Maria Ressa, whose news site has repeatedly clashed with President Duterte.

Ressa, who was named a Time Magazine “Person of the Year” in 2018 for her journalism, faces several criminal charges along with her website Rappler, in what press freedom advocates have branded an act of “persecution.”

“Maria Ressa is a courageous journalist who is being persecuted for reporting the news and standing up to human rights abuses,” Clooney said in a statement issued by London’s Doughty Street Chambers, where she works, on Monday.

“We will pursue all available legal remedies to vindicate her rights and defend press freedom and the rule of law in the Philippines,” added the British-Lebanese lawyer.

Clooney will work with a team of international lawyers as counsel to Ressa and coordinate with attorneys in Manila, the statement said.

Ressa was arrested twice this year and has accused Duterte of using prosecutions against her, including ongoing cases of alleged tax evasion and libel, to silence critics and intimidate the press.

Clooney, appointed special envoy for media freedom by the British government, also defended two Reuters journalists jailed for more than 16 months in Myanmar and freed in May.

Panelo wants to ‘educate’ Amal

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said yesteday that he is ready to “educate” Clooney, describing her as “beautiful” and “sexy.”

He said in Filipino that Ressa “could be looking for someone to match him” in a debate.

Panelo expressed the belief that Clooney could have been “misled” on Ressa’s situation and he is ready to “educate her” should they meet.  AFP

AMAL CLOONEY MARIA RESSA
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