After 13 years, Irene is free at last! Read it on MALAYSIAKINI.

Earlier, I received this appeal letter from Jennifer Mourin of Penang. Friends, please show your support for human rights defender Irene Fernandez by signing the online petition on  Thank you very much.

*        *        *         *         *

Dear Friends,

The longest trial in Malaysian history comes to a head on 24th- 28th November, 2008. The trial of human rights defender, Dr. Fernandez, will resume on these dates, and this may be the final round of hearings in the High Court in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific(PAN AP) has drafted a petition letter for Dr. Irene Fernandez’s freedom. Dr. 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 bailpending appeal. Her civil rights are now restricted, but she carries on her everyday life and continues her work.

I strongly urge you to join in this call for justice! Join the call to organisations, institutions and individuals to support Dr. Fernandez by signing the petition letter which is addressed to the Malaysian government and other institutions in Malaysia, and is posted at

By signing the letter, you and your organisation or institution will appeal for justice and rights of human rights defenders like Dr. Fernandez and it may give her the freedom to continue her work with migrant workers as well as helping communities achieve genuine people’s Food Sovereignty.

Please circulate widely!
Remember – No Justice No Peace!
Today it is Dr Irene Fernandez on trial! Tomorrow it could be YOU!
We need as many sign-ones as possible by November 28 so Take Action now!


35 responses »

  1. wits0 says:

    Who personally ordered her persecution? It does not look like a normal prosecution.

    That’s one interesting question.

  2. Jed Yoong says:


    TKs for this.
    Migrant workers are abused and terrorised.
    Some horror stories include being robbed on pay day by hey, ANYONE, and arrested by RELA, who get paid about RM100-200 per head, and then abused while under detention.
    The conditions in detention centres have also been reported by international news publications like the International Herald Tribune in recent years….

  3. Kopi Anan says:

    they want to make an example of this lady ….

    so that it becomes a precedant in the MLJ and into the annals of law.

  4. lucia says:

    good you highlight this, susan, seeing that many people read your blogs (judging by the many comments – some same person even commented more than once!).

    i came across this petition from suaram mailing list days ago but did not highlight it as my blog is not popular (no comments – not even from my good friend anymore 😦

    the authorities as always want to live in denial. torture did and (will) happened in the migrants/refugees camp yet they closed an eye. it takes a gutsy lady like irene fernandez to highlight the torture to the world!! i do hope irene’s case can be dropped as requested by many NGO, human rights organisation – or if it went on, she would not be found guilty. if she is find guilty, i tell you, all the NGOs will rise up in protest!


    Let’s pray that no court is treated like a playground
    Where people are constantly placed on a merrygoround
    Simply because important documents are sometimes not found
    And required involved personnel are often not around

    (C) Samuel Goh Kim Eng – 241108
    Mon. 24th Nov. 2008.

  6. kittykat46 says:

    An injustice has been committed against Irene Fernandez twice over.

    First, the politically motivated prosecution. She is being punished for reporting an inconvenient truth.

    Second, the trial itself. Long drawn out, missing documents, and now, illegible documents. It may not be possible to acquit her outright, but the courts should declare a mistrial and discharge her. It is simply impossible to proceed with a fair trial under the current circumstances.

  7. draper says:

    Justice and peace to all

  8. Vicky Ratnam says:

    Hats off to Dr Irene…. You are being kind to others…I think that that is what God wants everyone of us to do. And i also believe what you did is a great prayers. You are much more superior in act than all of us who just pray and preach about God until we have forgotten of what is humanity. Please forgive us Dr for our ignorance. People like you are very few on earth particularly in our great land Malaysia. Do believe that that truth will prevail eventually . All your efforts will pay.

  9. rider says:

    the longest running trial in Malaysia! Mr.Code of Ethics can explain why!

  10. SameSame says:

    This is another clear cut judicial corrupt of Malaysian System. Corrupt comes many forms, not only by money. Some goon wanted to save his ar*e, so wallah, all to hush the bad-doings and ill-treatment.

    Can’t the international human right intervene? This is after all an immigrant issue, that should directly be under UN yes? Or am I wrong?

    Whatever, we know what is gonna happen to her, another adjournment is forth-coming, as long as they can drag this, they will.

    Long live Injustice in MALAYSIA! ((((SIGH!!!!!))))

  11. Batu Ferringhi says:

    This long-drawn trial only gave the UMNO/BN regime it’s right image – being vindictive and also sloppy at the same time.

  12. amoker says:

    One of the most rubbished trial, another shame to our kangaroo courts. to think that documents can go missing etc. all because she wanted to help our migrants to be better protected.

    We support ya, Irene.

  13. harrison says:

    KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23 – The Malaysian government should exonerate Irene Fernandez, a leading labour activist convicted in 2003 on politically motivated charges of “publishing false news,” Human Rights Watch said today.

    “Irene Fernandez and her organisation documented the government’s sadistic and humiliating treatment of migrants,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

    “These include random beatings in the middle of the night, HIV/AIDS detainees sleeping on a roofless porch, rain or shine, filth, food and water shortages, and totally inadequate medical care. Human Rights Watch has also documented such treatment.”–human-rights-watch-drop-case-against-fernandez

  14. bamboo river says:

    I am going to sign the petition after this comment.

    So, if Rais can condemn US on Gitmo, why is he not saying anything about the atrocious treatment of foreign workers in our own Malaysia?
    This all bogs down to the system. Ms Irene had sacrificed for the human rights not any Bangla,Indon,Myanmar,Vietnamese,Cambodian or any other race.
    Yet the gomen are in the state of denial and on top of that charged Ms Irene for ‘maliciously publishing false news’.

    I wonder if Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye has anything to say about this? ( Witso might say something 🙂 )

    I believe the foreign ambassadors from the country involved should show support to Ms Irene. Unless they are afraid to be summoned by Wisma Putra.

    “Your excellencies, any one care to make the first move?”

    Do the ambassadors read blogs?

  15. “Who personally ordered her persecution? It does not look like a normal prosecution.” Wits0

    So you think you know the difference between the two! Big deal!

  16. wits0 says:

    Harrison, “exonerate” is not actually sufficient. There should be a thorough investigation and revelation as to who initiated the charges in the first place. Meantime the whole smelly case should be just dropped without ppl having to petition anyone.

    No wonder when Al’Blur was chairing Assean, it could and would not do anything about Myanmar.

    LGE himself was also accused of ‘publishing false news’ a little later. Who initiated that move that was taken up by the sycophantic justice system? Very popular in that period.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous said…


    WHY Razak Baginda, the fall guy, with no further obstacles or hindrances in sight for Najis C4 in his ascending to the Top Power, has now been released??? Well he was released so that he can say some good words for Narjis C4 but then if he is sentenced to death he would then wash all the linens in court or in public and the whole truth would then be revealed. The real murderers whose identities are obvious but are still at large, with RPK detained under ISA but just released and PI Balasundram exiled overseas there are no other major obstacles and hindrances to Najis’ ascendancy to the pinnacle of his power come March 2009. This is only obvious that UMNO has now the final say in justice with their man Zaki as the Chief Justice. This is the obvious Justice of Malaysia, the laughing stock of the whole world, Malaysia should be boycotted by the world communities for their greatest injustices towards human rights and common normal justices. THIS IS MALAYSIA UMNO’S MALAY SUPREMACY AT ALL COSTS BUT GOING DOWN THE SEWERS WITH NAJIS C4, THE NEW PRIME MINISTER IN WAITING AFTER THE 51ST YEAR OF INDEPENDENCE.

  18. kittykat46 says:

    Finally, the Appeals Judge did the right thing, and acquitted her.

    Will Patel and Botak now do the wrong thing and appeal the acquittal ?

  19. if fernandez is acquitted, that means polis really forced bangla immigrants to fellate in sg besi. so, what’s syed akbar the botak waiting for, go arrest those cops!

  20. harrison says:

    Actually Wits0, my previous comments are copy and paste from the Malaysian Insider, the words are from Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

    I believe Brad Adams, Susan Loone, you, me and others want to not only to see Irene’s freedom as well as others but to redeem her dignity and to acknowledge her for her noble works for exposing abuses resulting in her prolonging ordeal being a victim of conscience herself, but there is not much that we could do. U should know Bolehland lah man….

    I recalled signing an online letter for the unconditional release of Daw Aung Sann Syu Kyi’s detention but nothing more than to seek redress for her sufferings and ordeal for her stretching house arrests. I was inspired by her book, – “A Voice Of Hope” on her selfless, peaceful and painful struggle for democracy.

    Glad and relieve to know that Irene was acquitted. 😀

  21. whispering9 says:

    Whao! This is good news. Sure cheer up my Monday. Also thanks for blogging about it, especially when the code of ethics bloggers did not bother about it. Sure a thumb up for the court.

  22. kittykat46 says:

    We’ll have to see the Judge’s detailed ruling, but I think the acquittal is not amounting to her proving the truth. Its more likely that as of now, it is practically impossible to prove the prosecution’s case that she fabricated the reports, because of the lost documents and the unreadable documents.

    If that’s the case, it won’t be really satisfactory from Irene’s point of view, but an acquittal is an acquittal.

  23. whispering9 says:

    In Malaysia, an acquittal is a really a giant step for a system badly tainted by political interference. For now, it may be a save face situation for some, but it definitely suffices as a step towards better accountability in our court judgement. In the past, she might not get an acquittal even though all the documentation is lost. Time to move on to greater things.

  24. “because of the lost documents and the unreadable documents”

    this gives idea on mongolian case – utk acquitted on account an acquittal is an acquittal (means no “solid” evidence lar like no film,video, witness depict the murder).

  25. Douglas 'Whatever' Moore says:

    Hi Susan,

    I notice that some of the comments are stuck while others bypass your moderation. No complaints but for your kind attention. 🙂

  26. Batu Ferringhi says:

    When the charges were filed against Irene back in 1995, wasn’t the Home Minister then a man by the name of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi? I stand corrected.

  27. harrison says:

    Sorry for a bit of digression here susan.

    Just to note a few important points of Pak Lah’s PMship:-

    NOV 22 — Without much fanfare, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s final push to reform Malaysia’s institutions before stepping down in March seems to be coming along. Legislation to set up a more independent Anti-Corruption Commission will be tabled in a couple of weeks while the more controversial Judicial Appointments Commission was given the green light by the Cabinet at its weekly meeting yesterday.

    Both legislation — to set up the Anti-Corruption Commission and JAC — needs the support of Pakatan Rakyat before it can become law. In all likelihood, Abdullah, Nazri and other supporters of the legislation will have to reach out to opposition leaders, brief them on the main features of the two commissions and win their backing.

    Both are extracted paragraphs from Malaysain Insider reports:-


    If one compare Pak Lah to Mahahtir, it is no surprise that Mahathir is always under fire. No doubt, no doubt.

    And if you compare the incoming Rosmah Mansor to Jeanne Abdullah, it’s like a dragon lady and a meek persona.

    Refer to Malaysia today’s :

    Dear Susan,

    Please blog on calling all the PR MPs to move a motion of confidence for Pak Lah to continue as PM, please. You are a doyenne blogger after RPK with a hit averaging 100 comments per postings. 🙂

  28. eeyaw says:

    Have been following her case off & on due to the extended nature and finally Sweet Justice prevails in the end. If I were her I should sue for wrongful persecution.

  29. monsterball says:

    Great great news!
    God bless this blessed person.
    She waited so many many years…now totally free.
    Malaysians will hear more of her….from now onwards.

  30. you ppl are so funny? this is justice?! she acquitted becoz the documents lost, not because she’s telling the truth nor the polis memang force the bangla cockmeat sandwich! that means she’s a liar and yet the prosecution is stupid cannot charge her! if not, go stage up a demo to have those cops arrested for cockmeat sandwich???

    imagine this happen to utk too. malaysians memang tak tau what is justice….

  31. bgees says:

    This shows the stupidity of the goverment for framing the truth, an example of Mamak Kutty administrations the king corruptor. Even the rock’s has chillness but not this man of evil.A fatwa should put on him as “Haram”. See no him, hear no him, speak no him. The hell is awaiting.

  32. wits0 says:


    13 years lost … there’s no room for gratitude
    Steven Gan and Fauwaz Abdul Aziz | Nov 25, 08 5:32pm
    Migrant workers activist Irene Fernandez finds no reason to be grateful to Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail for deciding against prolonging her 13-year court battle.

  33. wits0 says:

    Irene Fernandez’s trial should never have taken place
    Florida | Nov 25, 08 4:33pm

  34. ventura says:

    Dr Irene Fernandez imprisonment over the right and the choice of abuse by the detention of migrant is a counter check of goodness to evil.

    It is a “dangerous sign” by the government to not heed and work out a solution to this condition of migrant. Instead of the government did not make the corrective ways of address and approach to improve. The government has decided to divert and scape “Dr Irene Fernandez” in replacement of incompetence to the gallows.

    Is this the government of Malaysia we should trust, without justice, corruptible, nepotism and abundance cronyism? Yeah many incidences have been point out but unfortunately the government still thinks the people in the “kampong” proximity. Did not know what is happening?

    So fellow Malaysia and “Bangsa Malaysia” we should continue to oppress those of injustice, police brutality and jurisdiction abusing, corruption and nepotism in the government. Without our watching eyes of the people like us, the government would be “misbehave” and “communist” themselves through the siphoning of “our wealth” to their own “private interests”.

    The government thought that with their authority vested and appointed they can be a “police” to all of us the “rakyat”. But unfortunately they have once forgotten that “the police authority” is appointed by the “rakyat”. So let us be a “police eyes” to the police of the corrupted government.

    Let sought to unity together in our mission to “policinize” the corrupt and injustice to our “rakyat”.

    Thank you!

  35. Abdullah Lolo says:

    Mozumder (former detainee): Mozumder told the court that 120 Burmese inmates were forced to perform oral sex on one another.

    “Police were watching how was their penis size, how they (the inmates) were performing, whether they were sucking the penis or just putting it in their mouth,” he said, in reply to a question by the defence counsel.

    He added that the inmates who were forced to suck the penis immediately rushed to the toilet after the act was over.

    “Most of them closed their mouth with their hand and ran towards the toilet to vomit. Those who had oral sex performed on them stayed standing in the field. Their faces were pale, shamed. Most of them started crying. Some of them covered their eyes with their hand and some of them looked down to the ground,” he recalled. He testified that he could not eat his meals after witnessing the incident.

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