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(Reuters) – Newly minted Nobel Peace Prize winner and journalist Maria Ressa has a deep bench of outstanding lawyers aiding her efforts to expose corruption in her native Philippines, and they’re utilizing the worldwide recognition to push authorities officers to drop felony costs towards their shopper.
“I hope the Philippine authorities will now stop persecuting her and other journalists and that this prize helps to protect the press around the world,” worldwide human rights lawyer Amal Clooney stated in a ready assertion Friday, the day Ressa was awarded the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize alongside Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov.
Clooney and legal professional Caoilfhionn Gallagher from London-based agency Doughty Avenue Chambers have been heading up Ressa’s worldwide authorized workforce, which incorporates 4 attorneys from Covington & Burling and native counsel in Manila. (Clooney declined an interview request.)
The attorneys are combating a slate of felony and civil costs towards Ressa which might be tied to her investigative journalism, which has uncovered authorities corruption within the Philippines and the lethal toll of President Rodrigo Duterte’s antidrug marketing campaign.
Ressa, co-founder of digital media firm Rappler, is at present interesting a six-year sentence for libel.
“The Nobel Committee’s motion is fantastic information for my shopper and faculty classmate Maria Ressa—and for Maria’s reason behind journalists’ freedom, at a time when media rights are underneath elevated menace world wide,” Covington & Burling accomplice Peter Lichtenbaum stated in an announcement Monday.
Ressa and Lichtenbaum graduated in 1986 from Princeton College, the place they each excelled—he was magna cum laude, whereas she was cum laude. (Lichtenbaum declined a request to be interviewed about his work for Ressa, directing questions to Clooney.) Covington lawyers Stephen Rademaker, Rani Gupta and Lisa Peets are additionally engaged on Ressa’s behalf.
Ressa first employed Covington in 2019; the agency’s work for her has included lobbying the U.S. Home, Senate and Division of State “to build awareness and concern” concerning the costs towards her, in accordance to federal lobbying disclosures.
“Our main objective has been to help ensure she is exonerated of the criminal charges brought against her by the Philippine government and never has to serve time in jail simply for reporting the news,” stated Rademaker, who has been main the Covington workforce. “We hope the Nobel Committee’s resolution will lead the Philippine authorities to drop all the fees towards her and rethink its misguided efforts to stifle press freedom.”
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