UPDATE (MALAYSIA): Irene Fernandez sentenced to jail for 12 months 


Urgent Appeal Case: UP-44-2003
ISSUES: Freedom of assembly, Freedom of expression,

Dear friends

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) that Irene Fernandez was sentenced to jail for 12 months by the Magistrates Court 5B, Kuala Lumpur, on 16 October 2003. However, she is out on bail in the amount of RM 3,000 and filed an appeal to the High Court on 17 October 2003.

Irene Fernandez, Director of Tenaganita, an NGO that works with migrant women, was charged under Section 8A(2) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 with “maliciously publishing false news” for releasing a memorandum at a press conference in 1995 on alleged torture and death in immigration detention centres. She was found guilty by the Kuala Lumpur magistrate’s court of maliciously publishing false news on 16 October 2003.

Regarding Irene Fernandez’s case, the judge suddenly decided to advance the date of Fernandez’s judgement to 15 October 2003, which was originally planned to take place on 17 March 2004. Many human rights organizations expressed their fear that this new date might have been set up on purpose in order to take advantage of the absence of Irene Fernandez’s Senior counsel for the trial, Mr. Pura Valen. Under the “exceptional circumstances” that her lead counsel Mr. Puravalen was absent, and instead lawyers from the Bar council were present in court, Irene Fernandez personally completed her oral submission, standing in the dock in reply to the Prosecution’s written submission.

Please support her and send an email, fax or letter to the Government of Malaysia and request them to quash the judgement against Irene Fernandez. A sample letter and addresses of the local authorities of Malaysia can be found at: http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/mainfile.php/2003/563/

Thank you.

Kim Soo A
Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER


Document Type : Urgent Appeal Update
Document ID : UP-44-2003
Countries :
Issues : Freedom of assembly, Freedom of expression,