Firstly, allow us to express our regret at your unlawful detention recently. We were greatly shocked and dismayed when we heard the news. We hope that you are in good health and will continue to write in the true and sincere patriotic spirit you always have. As you have said, God works in mysterious ways and in Him we must trust. Let us see where His plan leads.
The reason I'm writing to you is to make a small plea. I'm sure you are familiar with the trial of Irene Fernandez, which has been going on for the past 12 years. I don't think it's necessary for me to go through all the case details as I'm sure you're well aware of them. To summarize it quickly, she was convicted in 2003 on the charge of "maliciously publishing false news" under the Printing Presses & Publications Act and sentenced to 12 months imprisonment. She is out on bail now and her appeal process is ongoing. However, there are several glitches thanks to "missing notes of evidence and exhibits".
We, her children (Tania, 27; Camverra, 26 and Katrina, 23) have basically grown up with our mother's trial. As some may say, we have been "scarred" for life, although we do not agree and instead feel empowered for life. In any case, although we will never forget what we as a family have had to endure, it is perhaps easier for members of the public to allow it to slip from their minds. And who's to blame them, it has after all been 12 years already. But this is our plea to you. We ask if you could help reopen the public eye to the injustice that has been committed against our mother. She has sacrificed so much for society through the dedication in her work and struggle for social justice all these years and all we ask is for society to support her now in this time of need.
No we are not asking for financial contributions or anything of that sort. All we are asking for now is for your moral support. I think the best way to state our plea is by quoting my sister, Katrina, in a mail she sent out before the last hearing date on April 1st (I've edited her message to suit the latest developments in the trial - changes in red):
This is a plea. Quite plain & simple.
A plea for support.
There is no shame in pleading.
There is no shame when the cause is good.honest.just.
The appeal was scheduled to be heard from April 1st - 10th, after Five long, uncertain years since she was sentenced to 12-months imprisonment for
having a conscience
voicing out the cries of those who have been silenced
speaking the truth
doing the right thing.
Unfortunately, the appeal process may now be in jeopardy as a result of evidence, witness statements and trial records that have gone missing.11th June 2008 has now been set for the court to hear submissions from both lawyers on the implications of the missing records on the appeal.
This is our plea:
Please show your support by being present in the court room.
Please tell your friends.
Please be present in thought & spirit.
Please channel positive thoughts.
Please Never underestimate the power of solidarity.
We also ask this of you;
Regardless of which way judgment swings, please continue to act honestly, in good faith and in the name of justice, for these are also powerful ways through which we demonstrate solidarity.
More on Irene. Read too her acceptance speech (sidebar)