Irene Fernandez
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Malaysian Activist Convicted for Exposing Deaths in Detention
and other Human Rights Violations

Irene Fernandez

Magistrate Juliana Mohamed found Malaysian activist Irene Fernandez guilty of "maliciously publishing false news" on October 16, 2003, in the Kuala Lumpur Magistrate's Court. The following day she was sentenced to one year in prison, a sentence which she appealed on October 17.

Fernandez, the director of the women's organisation Tenaganita, was charged under Section 8A(2) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act of 1984 with "maliciously publishing false news" for releasing a memorandum at a press conference on August 1995 about the alleged torture and death in immigration detention camps.

After Tenaganita's memorandum was published, however, a similar report appearing in the Sun newspaper by a group of investigative journalists was awarded the Malaysian Press Institute Award that was presented by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. Thus, a similar set of facts has led to a year in prison for Irene Fernandez and an award for journalists by the prime minister.

We offer this collection of material to inform you about the case and to ask you to respond to the Asian Human Rights Commission's (AHRC) urgent appeal UP-43-2003 that is listed under the heading Reactions below. It contains a sample letter and a list of people to contact.

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