Micah Mandate: Irene Fernandez and me

Ten years ago, fresh from the Bar and newly thrown into the legal fraternity, I met Irene Fernandez. “I am the accused,” she introduced herself to us, chambering students, who were called to help in her case, to take notes on all that was said during her trial.

Meeting Irene Fernandez would be one of the biggest impressions I had had in my life. Saddled with criminal charges of ‘publishing false news’ under s.8A of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, Irene was cheerful, notwithstanding the number of times her counsel’s objections were overruled or the prosecution’s objections were sustained.

In the 1990s, while conducting research into HIV/AIDS issues with migrant workers, Irene was told by migrant workers of abuses, maltreatment and the bad conditions of migrant detention camps. 

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