George Clooney's wife, British-Lebanese human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, is joining the international team of lawyers that will be representing Rappler's CEO Maria Ressa against a number of criminal cases such as tax evasion and cyber-libel. Maria has posted bail eight times and has been arrested twice since 2018.
Amal has previously represented Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who were imprisoned in Myanmar after reporting on the massacre of Rohingya civilians.
In an announcement on July 8, law firm Doughty Street Chambers confirmed the news on its website.
"Amal Clooney and Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, barristers at Doughty Street Chambers specializing in international law and human rights, have confirmed that they will act with a team of international lawyers as counsel to renowned journalist Maria Ressa," the article read.
The international legal team includes other barristers (lawyers who can plead in higher courts) such as Can Yeginsu and Katherine O'Byrne.
"Maria Ressa is a courageous journalist who is being persecuted for reporting the news and standing up to human rights abuses," said Amal, on why she decided to represent Maria. "We will pursue all available legal remedies to vindicate her rights and defend press freedom and the rule of law in the Philippines.”
Maria took to Twitter to give thanks to US law firm Covington & Burling LLP, which Amal and the rest of her legal team will be closely working with. When necessary, their team will also coordinate with domestic counsel in Manila.
In April, Maria posted a photo with George and Amal, whom she met to talk about strengthening the rule of law in the Philippines.