Malaysia bans Kiwi anti-mining protester

ANDREA O'NEIL
Last updated 05:00 05/09/2014
ACTIVISIT LAWREY
STUCK: Natalie Lowrey was refused entry to Malaysia on August 31 and forced to spend the night on a concrete floor.

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A Kiwi anti-mining activist has been refused entry to Malaysia because her name was on a government blacklist.

Sydney-based Natalie Lowrey, who grew up in South Auckland, tried to enter Malaysia on August 31. She was held from 8pm until 6.30am, without food or water, and forced to sleep on a concrete floor, she said.

She offered to buy herself a ticket back to Sydney but was refused.

"That sort of treatment is unnecessary, especially when you're not being told why you're blacklisted," Lowrey said. "To not give someone water, it's pretty poor on their behalf."

The graphic and web designer had been arrested and held for six days in Malaysia in June after she took part in a 1000-strong protest against the Australian rare earth mining company Lynas Corporation, which environmental activists accuse of poor waste management practices that endanger communities' health.

Lowrey was eventually freed without charge and told she could come back to Malaysia.

Fifteen Malaysians who had been at the same protest face two years in prison on charges of rioting and breaches of the peaceful assembly act.

Her latest detention came as she tried to visit Malaysia to support the 15 nationals during their trial.

She is now working with her lawyers to appeal against the ban.

"It's a grave mistake on Malaysian authorities' behalf to take this route," she said. "I think this issue is becoming more international."

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- The Dominion Post

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