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THE CASE OF IRENE FERNANDEZ CHARGED UNDER THE PRINTING PRESSES AND PUBLICATIONS ACT 1984

DEFENCE IS CALLED

Today, the Magistrate, Puan  Juliana Mohamed in the case of  Irene Fernandez, charged under Section 8A of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, ruled that I am to enter my defence.

According to the Magistrate, the Prosecution has proven their case beyond reasonable doubt that the contents of the Memorandum which was published are false.  In her opinion the Prosecution has discharged its burden of proving its case beyond reasonable doubt.  However, I note
that the Prosecution  did  not produce a single one of the 36 detainees that they said they had interviewed and taken statements under Section 112 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

In my view, the Prosecution relied heavily on the evidence of police and government officers who would be expected to serve their own interests. The Prosecution had conceded that 42 detainees had died while under police custody, yet, despite repeated requests, the post mortem reports
were not produced.  In fact the defence  application that the Prosecution be ordered to produce the reports was dismissed.

At the end of the Prosecution case, the Prosecution offered 145 witnesses to the defence.  The defence had requested on 4 November 1998 for all the detainees in the witness list as well as the police officer in Kajang who had conducted the inquiry into the deaths of the detainees in the camp, to be made available to the defence to be interviewed. Subsequently, two reminders ( 4.12.98 and 26.1.99) were sent to the Prosecution.    However, till today the Prosecution has failed to
produce any one of these detainees to the Defence.

The defence intends to call about 30 witnesses.  Unlike the Prosecution we will bring ex-detainees to testify as they are the best people who will have intimate knowledge of the actual conditions in the camp.  We believe that the truth will be revealed.

As I have stated right from the onset, I should never have been charged because of the Memorandum.  Section 8A of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, violates our fundamental rights to freedom of expression.  As long as this law remains  we can never really achieve our aim of accountability and transparency in our society.~C.I.A REFORMASI
 

Yours sincerely,
Irene Fernandez
Director-Tenaganita