Irene Fernandez
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Statement of Support to the Campaign of Justice for Irene Fernandez, Director of Tenaganita
October 17, 2003

We, with the truth and justice by our side, shall prevail!

The Hong Kong-based organizations of migrant workers, youth, students and human rights advocates condemn in the strongest possible terms the conviction of Dr. Irene Fernandez, Director of Tenaganita, for "malicious publication of false news" under the Printing Presses and Publication Act.

Irene was sentenced to 12-month imprisonment although she was allowed a stay of execution pending to appeal to the High Court with a bail of RM3000. Irene was arrested in March 1996 and has been on trial for the last seven and a half years for exposing the dehumanised conditions in immigration detention camps.

The publication pertained to by the court was the memorandum Irene made disclosing reported beatings and sexual violence against detainees by prison guards, and inadequate food and water in Malaysia's immigration detention camps.

The Kuala Lumpur Magistrate's Court recognized all statements made by police department and authorities but denied all evidence provided by Irene and her defence. Furthermore, the unprofessional Malaysian police only took action to investigate based on results of the report after a year. They took years to investigate the case but did not look into the real issues: the number and causes of deaths in camps, mainly from a condition of abuse and torture.

The verdict of the court only showed the atrocity of the Malaysian government・s attitude and treatment to the migrant workers・ rights, enshrined even in international human rights standards. The court, riddled with corruption, nepotism and repression, develops a new meaning to the word "justice" justice for the rich, justice for the powerful, justice for the ones in control.

As a member of the United Nations, the Malaysian government, should recognize, respect and adhere to democratic principles and human rights enshrined in the various international conventions and instruments.

We condemn the statement made by the DPP Augustin who said that Irene・s case should serve as a warning to NGO・s. Such a threat is unbecoming of one who is tasked to uphold justice and fairness.

We remain in solidarity with Irene Fernandez in her struggle for justice as well as the people of Malaysia who call upon the government to withdraw the charges on Irene. We demand as well for the immediate repeal of the undemocratic and repressive Printing Presses and Publication Act.

Justice for Irene Fernandez!
Junk the repressive Printing Presses and Publication Act!

Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM)
Asian Students Association (ASA)
Asosiasi Tenaga Kerja Indonesia (ATKI-HK)
Association of Concerned Filipinos (ACFIL)
Bethune House Migrant Women・s Refuge (BHMWR)
Filipino Friends in Hong Kong (FFHK)
Friends of Bethune House (FBH-HK)
Mission for Filipino Migrant Workers (MFMW)
Pinatud a Saleng ti Umili (PSU)
United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-HK)

Posted on 2004-01-09
Asian Human Rights Commission
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