Amal Clooney to defend Rappler chief Ressa in PH

Amal Clooney to defend Rappler chief Ressa in PH

Maria Ressa just would not stop and as a matter of fact might have brought the big guns in her camp.

Prominent rights lawyer Amal Clooney has expressed her intent to join the legal team of Rappler CEO Maria Ressa, whose news site has repeatedly clashed with the Duterte administration and President Rodrig Roa Duterte himself.

Ressa, an Ameican citizen has been named 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."

International human rights lawyer Amal Clooney seen her with Maria Ressa (photo credit to Rappler)

"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.

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

The Chief executive has branded Rappler a "fake news outlet" and his government insists it is simply enforcing the law as cases pile up against the website publishing reports critical of the president's deadly anti-drug crackdown which have been mistagging the correct numbers in the administration’s so called Drug war.

"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 organization I represent," Ressa said in the statement.

Amal Clooney's taking on Ressa's case will increase international attention on the journalist and her foreign funded website, which have received a series of global awards from press freedom advocates.

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Report from ABS-CBN News

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