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.