Another protester jailed in Sarawak

Wednesday, August 21, 1991

Another protester jailed in Sarawak

By David Brazil

Gold Coast environmental activist Anja Light has joined Australian Nancy Rolfe and six other protesters from four countries in a Malaysian jail after being found guilty of criminal trespass. She was sentenced to 87 days in prison for her involvement in the first international protest against the continued logging of the Sarawak rainforest.

The eight activists are being held in Lambir Prison, in the town of Miri, Sarawak. A Malaysian human rights activist told Green Left, "The female protesters have not been given mattresses due to their refusal to 'cooperate'. They have no recreational opportunities, and are allowed to see visitors for only five minutes per week." The protesters are able to write or receive only one letter per month.

In an interview on July 31, Light said that the destruction of the Sarawak rainforest could not be seen as a local issue but entailed global responsibility. "It is time for all nations to recognise the importance of protecting fragile ecosystems, biological diversity and the traditional land rights of the indigenous people. We ask consumers to use alternative timbers and for governments to ban the importation of rainforest timbers."

The Sydney branch of the Waterside Workers' Federation has called for an end to the importing of rainforest timbers. The resolution was put to the August 15 meeting of the NSW Labor Council, which referred the matter to the ACTU.

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