Activist Irene Fernandez acquitted after 13-year trial

By Lester Kong, The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Activist Irene Fernandez, 62, was acquitted on Monday of maliciously publishing false news about the torture and abuse of migrant workers after a 13-year court battle.

There were shouts of joy from Fernandez’s family and supporters when Justice Datuk Mohd Apandi Ali announced his decision, reversed the 2003 Magistrate Court’s conviction and one-year jail sentence.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Shamsul Sulaiman told the court earlier that he would not pursue with a cross appeal.

He said that after being served with the records of the proceedings of Irene’s case and discovering systemic errors in the records, he decided that justice would not be achieved by opposing the appeal.

In the light of the prosecution not opposing the appeal “there is no necessity to deliberate on this appeal further,” said Justice Mohd Apandi.

Irene later said that she was “relieved and very happy that truth and justice had prevailed” as she had least expected the result when she got up this morning.

In In 1995, Fernandez wrote a memorandum on ‘Abuse, Torture and Dehumanised Conditions of Migrant Workers in Detention Centres.'

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

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