Free Fernandez, NGOs urge Abdullah

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 19 Nov 2003

PETALING JAYA: Over 90 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have appealed to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to free Tenaganita director Irene Fernandez from prison for “speaking the truth” in the alleged ill-treatment of migrant workers. 

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) director Dr Kua Kia Soong, in a joint statement endorsed by the NGOs, said Fernandez's trial and conviction demonstrated that there was no protection for human rights defenders to articulate concerns over human rights violations. 

“Such a trend not only curtails constructive criticism but has serious implications for all organisations involved in promotion and protection of rights of people and for research.  

“We appreciate the Prime Minister’s call on the need for truth and the direction he has set for the nation.”  

Fernandez was found guilty of “maliciously publishing false news” and sentenced to 12 months' jail on Oct 16. 

She was charged under Section 8A (2) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act following the release of a memorandum entitled Abuse, Torture and Dehumanised Treatment of Migrant Workers at Detention Camps.  

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