Wednesday, April 06, 2011

MALAYSIA: Human rights lawyer sued for libel for blogging alleged violations of migrant workers rights

AHRC, April 4, 2011

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME
Urgent Appeal update: AHRC-UAU-019-2011

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MALAYSIA: Human rights lawyer sued for libel for blogging alleged violations of migrant workers rights
ISSUES: Human rights defenders; Migrant workers; Labour rights; Freedom of association; Freedom of assembly; Freedom of expression
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Dear friends,
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) regrets to inform you that the Asahi Kosei (M) Sdn. Bhd. Company, a firm whom we earlier reported to have threatened to commence legal action against a human rights lawyer, Mr. Charles Hector Fernandez, for blogging about alleged violations of the migrant workers rights the company has committed, has proceeded in prosecuting him for libel.

UPDATED INFORMATION:

As mentioned in our previous appeal (AHRC-UAC-033-2011
), on February 14, 2011 the Asahi Kosei (M) Sdn. Bhd. Company, demanded from Mr. Fernandez the payment of RM 10,000,000.00 (USD 3,279,307), an apology and an immediate withdrawal of the posts in his blog that they claimed libelous to the Company. The company in Malaysia manufactures components for video equipment, hard disk drives and automotive parts.

However, even before Mr. Fernandez could respond to the Company’s demand, on February 21 he received an ex-parte injunction order and copies of court papers. The ex-parte order requires him to immediately remove all the posts he had in his blog about the case of the Burmese migrant workers and for him to stop any forms of communications by himself or his servants or agents about the issue.

The copies of court papers showed that the Asahi Kosei (M) Sdn. Bhd. Company had filed the legal action against Mr. Charles Hector Fernandez in court and applied for an ex-parte interlocutory injunction on 14 February 2011, the same day that Mr. Fernandez also received the copy of the Company’s demand letter dated February 11.

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