Clooney adds star brand to Duterte fight

Central Station | 10 Jul 2019

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

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

"Ressa is a courageous journalist who is being persecuted for reporting the news and standing up to human rights abuses," Clooney said.

The British-Lebanese lawyer will work with a team of international lawyers as counsel to Ressa and coordinate with attorneys in Manila.

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 has been appointed special envoy for media freedom by the British government.

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