Irene Fernandez (born 1946) is a Malaysian human rights activist. She is a PKR supreme council member and the director and co-founder of the non-governmental organization Tenaganita, which promotes the rights of migrant workers and other oppressed and poor people in Malaysia.
In 1995, Irene Fernandez published a report on the living conditions of the migrant workers entitled "Abuse, Torture and Dehumanised Conditions of Migrant Workers in Detention Centres". The report was based in part on information given to her by Steven Gan and a team of reporters from The Sun, who had uncovered evidence that 59 inmates, primarily Bangladeshis, had died in the Semenyih immigration detention camp of the preventable diseases typhoid and beriberi. When Gan and his colleagues were blocked by Sun editors from printing the report in the paper, they passed it to Fernandez.
She was arrested in 1996 and charged with 'maliciously publishing false news'. After seven years of trial, she was found guilty in 2003 and convicted to one year's imprisonment. Released on bail pending her appeal, her passport was held by the courts, and as a convicted criminal, she was barred from standing as parliamentary candidate in the 2004 Malaysian elections.
Irene Fernandez's appeal at the High Court resumed on 28 October 2008. On 24 November 2008, Justice Mohd Apandi Ali overturned her earlier conviction and acquitted her, ending the thirteen-year case.
- The Rocket - DAP Newsletter
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- "IPF Awards 2000 - Announcement". Committee to Protect Journalists. 2000. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
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- Tenaganita official site
- SUARAM official site
- Biography on Right Livelihood Award website
- Irene Fernandez defends the rights of migrant workers despite conviction, Amnesty International report