Irene Fernandez acquitted

Irene Fernandez acquitted

The Kuala Lumpur High Court today acquitted migrant workers’ activist Irene Fernandez, bringing an end to a 13-year court battle.

The court was to have started hearing her appeal this morning even though documents relating to her appeal case may be incomplete.

irene fernandez 13 year court battle 241108High Court judge Mohamad Apandi Ali had initially fixed Oct 28 to 30 to hear her appeal but this morning made his surprise decision to acquit her.

The Tenaganita executive director’s first mention date on Jun 11 was postponed to Aug 5, because papers with statements of important prosecution witnesses went missing.

On Aug 5, the case was once again put to a standstill when Fernandez was told a computer virus had wiped out a portion of a specific volume of notes required for the trial.

Fernandez, 62, was sentenced to one-year jail in 2003 after being found guilty by the Kuala Lumpur Magistrate’s Court of maliciously publishing false news.

She was allowed bail pending appeal.

In 1995, Fernandez exposed the poor conditions at immigration detention centres in a memorandum entitled ‘Abuse, Torture and Dehumanised Conditions of Migrant Workers in Detention Centres’.

She was arrested and charged under Section 8A (1) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 a year later.

The maximum penalty on conviction is three years’ imprisonment or a fine not exceeding RM20,000, or both.

The appeal mention date was postponed three times previously, due to several technical glitches since April, when papers containing her appeal against her imprisonment went missing.

Her case has become the longest-running trial in Malaysian history.


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