Photo: Damian Baker
Photo: Damian Baker
A Sydney-based environmental activist, Natalie Lowrey, has been released after being detained for six days in Malaysia, when she was protesting against an Australian company’s metals plant.
From New Zealand, Lowrey, was arrested on Sunday while demonstrating at Lynas’ controversial plant for rare earths, which are utilized in tech products like smartphones.
Police had recommended that she be charged under the Immigration Act for unlawful assembly, which carries a maximum two-year jail term.
However, on Friday night she was suddenly released on bail.
“It was a big surprise. I didn’t believe it until I had changed out of my purple jail uniform,” Lowrey mentioned.
“I felt very strong the whole week because I knew there were vigils all over Australia and Malaysia for me. I have a lot of people to thank.”
The lack of transparency around Lowrey’s detention had worried lawyers and NGOs. Consequently, they had collected more than 15,000 signatures on a petition to free her.
She has her passport back and plans to depart from Malaysia next week. But, before she leaves she hopes to spend a few days in the area that inspired her to campaign against the plant.
Protesters say the plant, in the eastern state of Pahang, will result in radioactive waste that will endanger the community and the coastal environment.
On Saturday Lowrey said, “I feel very strongly that Australian companies have to be accountable for their actions overseas.
“I will continue to show solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of Malaysians who want Lynas to leave.”
Lynas says it follows strict human and environmental health safeguards.


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