Court asks SolGen to comment on Maria Ressa travel plea


Posted at Feb 17 2022 08:38 AM | Updated as of Feb 17 2022 09:37 AM

Maria Ressa

The Court of Appeals has asked the Office of the Solicitor General for comment on Rappler CEO Maria Ressa's urgent motion to travel abroad to receive an award from her alma mater, Princeton University.

Ressa had been invited to receive the Woodrow Wilson Award, the highest award given by Princeton University to undergraduate alumni, on Alumni Day, February 19. 

"Not such a good morning :( I should have landed in JFK a few hours ago for a short trip to receive an award from @Princeton Saturday. I received court approvals from 6 of 7 charges, but the 7th court order was released a few hours before I was supposed to get on the flight," she said in a Twitter post. 

She added she had filed a motion for reconsideration to be allowed to travel abroad. "If granted, I could still make ceremony in my high school on Friday and @Princeton on Saturday if allowed to leave tonight. The randomness is a mind game, but it doesn't defeat me. Makes me more resolute to demand justice," she said. 

"Lessons learned: hope is dangerous because it creates expectations, but life without hope means you become an automaton with no meaning or purpose. So it's really a balancing act: be prepared for the worst, but keep taking risks to make your world the way it should be."

Ressa, 58, is a staunch critic of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and his government's policies, including a drug war that has killed thousands. Her position at the head of the Rappler news site meant getting, by her own estimate, up to 90 abusive messages per hour online at one point towards the end of 2016.

Ressa is on bail pending an appeal against a conviction in a cyber libel case, for which she faces up to six years in prison. It is one of seven cases she is fighting after two cyber libel suits were dismissed earlier this year.

A Time Person of the Year in 2018, Ressa won the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with Novaya Gazeta editor-in-chief Dmitry Muratov in recognition for their fight for freedom of expression.

Ressa and Muratov are the first journalists to receive the Nobel prize since Germany's Carl von Ossietzky won the 1935 award for revealing his country's secret rearmament programme.

With Agence France Presse and Reuters

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