Amal Clooney to lead Maria Ressa’s defense team of int’l lawyers

Images fro Amal Clooney and Maria Ressa's Facebook pages
  • Amal Clooney will be joining Maria Ressa’s team of international lawyers
  • Ressa and Rappler’s staff and directors are facing at least 11 lawsuits in court
  • Clooney will be joined by several international lawyers and other US law firms

MANILA, Philippines – Renowned international law and human rights lawyer Amal Clooney will be joining the defense team of embattled Rappler CEO Maria Ressa who is facing several lawsuits in Philippine courts.

Image from Maria Ressa’s Facebook page

In a statement released by London’s Doughty Street Chambers on Monday, July 8, Clooney described Ressa as a ‘courageous journalist’ who is being persecuted for reporting the news and for ‘standing up to human rights abuses’.

“We will pursue all available legal remedies to vindicate her rights and defend press freedom and the rule of law in the Philippines,” said Clooney, wife of Hollywood star George Clooney.

As per Rappler, Ressa is facing nine criminal charges but, overall, including the online website’s directors and staff, they are battling at least 11 lawsuits in Philippine courts.

Image from Maria Ressa’s Facebook page

In a separate statement on Tuesday, July 9, Ressa said her defense team of international lawyers will look into how to best protect them under international laws and institutions while at the same time working with their Filipino counterparts.

“Our Filipino lawyers continue to defend us in our cases now pending in court as well as in the complaints that are pending with the justice department,” said Ressa, who has been accused of proliferating ‘fake news’ several times by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Clooney has been previously involved in a number of high-profile human rights cases including Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo who were both jailed, and later freed, for reporting the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar.

Image from Amal Clooney’s Facebook page

She also represented former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo before the international court in the case she filed against the Philippine government over the latter’s continued detention back in 2015.

Rappler further disclosed that Clooney will be working with Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, as well as with barristers Can Yeginsu and Katherine O’Byrne, and other law firms in the United States.