Irene Fernandez acquitted after 13-year court battle


Just got news that Irene Fernandez has been finally acquitted after a 13-year court battle on a charge of publishing false news about the ill-treatment and poor living conditions of migrant workers in a detention centre. The High Court judge who made the decision is Mohamad Apandi Ali.

Some background here:

Fernandez is a staunch human rights activist and is the director and co-founder of Tenaganita, a Malaysian NGO that promotes the rights and welfare of migrant and agricultural workers.

She is also a  Steering Council Member of PAN AP, and the People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty  (PCFS), among many organisations. In 2005, she was given the Right  Livelihood Award for “her outstanding and courageous work to stop  violence against women and abuses of migrant and poor workers”.

In 1995, Dr. Fernandez published a report on the living conditions of  migrant workers in Malaysia’s detention centres. She was charged with  ‘maliciously publishing false news’ against the Malaysian government  in 1996. After seven years of trial, the longest in Malaysian  judicial history, she was found guilty in 2003. She was allowed bail  pending appeal. Her civil rights were restricted, but she carried  on her everyday life and continues her work.

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25 Nov 2008 12.06pm

it was all the work of mahathir.his ways are to counter any unpalatable truth with lies and the big stick of corrupt law.that was his ways of intimidation and which the present power that be will follow to quieten the really glad at last she is free.but ther are much to be done for the nation and the people who want a better nation and values.

Reject Mahathirism
Reject Mahathirism
25 Nov 2008 12.05pm

Call your MPs now and tell them that We, The Rakyat, reject the racial and religious ploys of corrupt politicians:




Tell them that politics must be based on real issues like the economy, education and human rights — not bogus issues like yoga … and Ketuanan Melayu. Tell them that we reject the blatant use of racist rhetoric, religious bigotry and police brutality used by followers of Mahathirism to divide and rule Malaysians.


25 Nov 2008 10.24am

This case was another fallback to the Mahathir years. The police and other authorities acted in their own interest instead of investigating the abuse claimed by Tenaganita, which would have infinitely made more sense. Who are they covering up for anyway? The abuse of those detainees should not have been tolerated in a civil society! During the trial, I thought the defence did a creditable job of coming up with witnesses and evidence to back up their story. How the verdict went the other way was a surefire way to confirm that we are in Bolehland. Pity those poor detainees… Read more »

Siew Eng
Siew Eng
25 Nov 2008 12.59am

source: IRENE FERNANDEZ IS ACQUITTED Monday, 24 November 2008 The Kuala Lumpur High Court has acquitted Dr Irene Fernandez, co-founder and executive director of Tenaganita. The first words as she was congratulated, Irene said, "I am free! At last I am free!" A scheduled court appeals hearing, which was to last until Friday 28 November was today ended when Judge Mohamad Apandi Ali gave his decision and set aside her 2003 conviction and reversed the conviction and sentencing. Minutes later, Irene walked out of the court-room, free at last, saying, “I’m relieved that there’s light at the end of… Read more »

Samuel Goh Kim Eng
Samuel Goh Kim Eng
24 Nov 2008 11.47pm


Let’s pray that no court is treated like a playground
Where people are constantly placed on a merrygoround
Simply because important documents are sometimes not found
And required involved personnel are often not around

(C) Samuel Goh Kim Eng – 241108
Mon. 24th Nov. 2008.

Kok Keong
Kok Keong
24 Nov 2008 10.41pm

While I am happy for Irene Fernandez, let’s not quickly sweep under the carpet that she was put through the most unnecessary ordeal by an inept judiciary and a politically motivated office of the Attorney-General. No one should have to go through what she had to go through in the past 13 years. Imagine what more she could have accomplished for Malaysia if not for what is truly a sickening case of “Justice delayed, is justice denied.”

Dalbinder Singh Gill
Dalbinder Singh Gill
24 Nov 2008 10.18pm

sure no problem, i am ever willing to help, just email me details and stuff and I will help, a pleasure working with you and for ALIRAN .. all my help is FOC .. thanks.. currently a little busy updating CASP website ni though.. just let me know, the problem with me is, i need to be told what to do n stuff then only i reach out, if i have to go out there, i am kinda blur at times though. haha…

24 Nov 2008 8.43pm

Sheer waste of court’s time and money. At least millions of ringgit would have been spent on this case over the last 13 years.

These millions could have been given to some poor orphanage to feed the poor children.

The Bar Council need to see to things like this. Pity Irene. Suffered all these years. It should have been dropped a long time ago.

The AG somehow in other cases can selesai very fast, but this case, it took 13 years. Amazing how much of our tax payers money have been wasted.

anak kulim
anak kulim
24 Nov 2008 8.36pm

Congratulations Irene! You certainly won the 13-year old war of attrition against them. They could not subdue your grit and determination. Look into the possibility of sueing the govt or the A-G at least $100 million for wrongful accusations which have placed a dark cloud over your head for 13 years.

24 Nov 2008 8.04pm

Good start to the week! Great big hugs & bouquets to Irene 🙂 Those who would like a bit more background on this disgraceful episode in the annals of Umno/BN injustice may refer to this post dated 28 October.

linda olivia
linda olivia
24 Nov 2008 7.41pm

it is sad that Dr Irene grew old with this case stretching for so long. She is one lady i admire. truly a modern day heroine, another Sybil Kartigesu who we can be proud of.

thanks for the news Anil.

God bless all you people who strife for a better tomorrow.

24 Nov 2008 4.26pm

The sleeping beauty’s lucky number 13 Irene Fernandez got acquitted today Joy to all remember those still behind bars Relinquishing for years waiting for justice done Maybe the long petition It got him to do right it Lucky 13 finally came to rescue A judge so impartial let her go A small light in the darkness People like Irene not many come our way Fighting for her passionate believe Every human has a right to freedom Colors and creed have no difference Irene goes out to give a helping hand In pursuit of her caring life She is persecuted unfairly… Read more »