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Monday, March 31, 2014

Veteran activist Irene Fernandez passes away

Veteran activist Irene Fernandez today passed away after being hospitalised for heart failure since last Tuesday. She was 67.

Her sister Josie said that Irene died at 10.58am at the Coronary Care Unit at Serdang Hospital.

"Her organs were all fine but her heart stopped. The doctors tried their best to resuscitate her.

"Irene was very brave and courageous and as I speak to you now, I can see that her face is so serene, so calm," she told Malaysiakini after the family performed their prayers.

Josie, Irene's husband Joseph Paul (left) and the couple’s three children were with her at the time.

The founder of migrant rights NGO Tenaganita was admitted at the Serdang Hospital after complaining of breathing difficulties.

Her remains will be brought to her home in Seremban later today and a public wake will be held in Subang on Wednesday.

"Prayers and a mass to celebrate her life will be held on Thursday. We will announce the details later," Josie said.

The family will also honour her request to be cremated and have her ashes buried with her late parents in Sungai Petani.

A dedicate civil rights activist, Irene was on her way to hear the findings of the coalition for clean and fair elections (Bersih)'s tribunal when she faced breathing difficulties.

She gained international attention when she became the subject of the country's longest criminal trial after being charged with publishing falsehoods in a report on migrant detention centres.
She was once again investigated for her activism in 2012, when a sedition probe was launched over an interview about migrant rights with an Indonesian newspaper.

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