The British-Lebanese lawyer joins Ressa’s defence team.

One of the most respected human right lawyers and an overall superwoman, Amal Clooney, has joined the legal team to defend a “courageous” Philippines journalist Maria Ressa.

Ressa, the editor of the news site Rappler, caught the attention of President Rodrigo Duterte when she started writing about his war on drugs. According to reports and human rights organisation Amnesty, Duterte harsh approach involves giving police the right to arrest and shoot anyone suspected of being a dealer or an addict.

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Ressa was named a Time Magazine Person of the Year in 2018 for taking “great risks in pursuit of greater truth” through her reporting, but over the last year she has been arrested and released on bail several times and is now facing charges relating to alleged tax evasion and ‘cyber-libel’.

 

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

 

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Clooney and her team of international lawyers will counsel Ressa and coordinate with attorneys in Manila. “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.

If there is one person who can shine a spotlight on Ressa’s struggle, it’s Amal Clooney.

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