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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Updates on Irene's Case

Irene was Parti Keadilan Rakyat Kelana Jaya's committee member. He is the member of Supreme Council.

Press Release

April 1, 2008.

(Mahkamah Majistret Kuala Lumpur Kes Tangkap : A 83-195-96)
Irene V.M. Fernandez -lwn- Pendakwaraya


This morning at the Criminal Court 2, High Court in Kuala Lumpur, Yang Arif Hakim Dato' Haji Mohamad Apandi Bin Haji Ali postponed the appeal hearings for a mention to May 12, 2008. The postponement was made after hearing Counsel M. Puravalen, representing Irene Fernandez.

Puravalen argued that he could not proceed with the submissions for the appeal as the record of appeal is incomplete. 1700 pages of the evidence of the defence case and 90 pages of evidence of the prosecution witnesses are missing. The type written notes of evidence were inaccurate as well. Furthermore the handwritten notes are not legible and seem to differ from the typed notes. The exhibits are also not available.

Faced with this problem and gaps in evidence, it is impossible for the accused to proceed with the appeal. Various attempts were made by the counsel for the accused to ratify the problem but to no avail. The deputy prosecutor, Encik Shamsul confirmed the issues raised by the defence counsel.

The High Court Judge, Dato' Haji Mohamad Apandi Bin Haji Ali stated that a judge can only hear a case fairly and be able to make a decision if he has with him all the notes of evidence and exhibits to look into. Without them, he cannot make a decision. Faced with this situation, Judge Apandi decided to give the lower courts a last chance to put together and in order the record of appeal within a month. A date for mention to fix the hearing of the Appeal was fixed for May
12, 2008. The Judge would then proceed to hear the case with whatever records were available.

It is indeed very disturbing that the courts did not take sufficient care to keep the records in place especially when the freedom of an individual is at stake. It is crucial that courts be accountable for the above situation and such gaps be addressed with urgency.

Meanwhile, Irene Fernandez has a 12 month imprisonment sentence hanging over her head, she is out on bail and her passport is impounded and held by the courts. Irene cannot travel overseas without the permission of the courts.

Tenaganita hopes that justice will prevail and that Irene will be free soon. Meanwhile, the struggle to get justice for the workers especially migrant workers will continue. We will continue to monitor
even more seriously the arrests and detention of migrant workers andto ensure that they are treated with dignity and humanely.

Yours sincerely,
Florida Sandanasamy

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