Irene in NST & Star
The News Straits Time (including the online version) has an article on 8 Dec 2007 - "Dream Ends in Brazil":
KUCHING: All she wanted was to be a tour guide and to see the world. Irene Manggi has been charged with drug possession and is awaiting trial. But 22-year-old Irene Manggi's dream turned into a nightmare when she ended up in the Sao Paolo prison in Brazil for possession of cocaine.
She has been spending her time in Sao Paolo for the past five months and on Nov 22, was charged with drug possession and is waiting for her trial. Her family believes that she is a victim of a drug syndicate.
Her sister Lina Manggi said Irene was a naive and trusting person. "Because of her nature her friend took advantage of her," she said adding that Irene had met a woman called Sabariah Mut @ Sabrina, three months ago who had convinced her that there were jobs as tour guides in Brazil.
Sabrina had provided Irene and her cousin their passports and flight tickets, said Lina. On July 18, Irene's cousin Annie Ellyza Enju, 23, returned and had lodged a police report at the Central Police Station in Kuching.
In the report, Annie said that she last saw Irene at Residencia Hotel, Barcelona, Spain on June 19, when they were separated by a Nigerian man identified as Tony. She said Irene was given a bag and a note before taking a taxi to Barcelona Airport where she took a flight Sao Paolo via Zurich.
And in The Star on of 8 Dec 2007 edition (also online), " Another Drug Mule" case:
ANOTHER Malaysian woman has been arrested overseas on drug charges, reported Berita Harian. The paper reported yesterday that Brazilian police were holding Irene Manggi from Kuching, Sarawak, for dealing cocaine.
It said Irene, in her 20s, was another victim of an international drug dealing syndicate, which used local women as drug mules, similar to what happened to two Malaysian women in Japan and China. Irene is being detained by Sao Paulo police.
When contacted, the Malaysian Embassy in Brazil confirmed the arrest and an officer at the embassy said a report had been sent to the Wisma Putra. Lina, Irene’s elder sister, said Irene was tricked by a friend to work as a tour guide for Visit Malaysia 2007. She alleged that Irene was betrayed by the friend.
She said the Malaysian Embassy informed her that Irene had gone on trial on Nov 21. She added that a cousin had managed to escape and made a police report but no follow-up had been carried out.
Our Local Dailies: Are they Doing Enough for Irene?
I will be watching out for the news in our local papers this morning to see if they have highlighted the case or at least make efforts to update us since it has been spalshed on National television. After all, that is what the local newspapers are for. For the count I can say 48 hours after the news in TV3 I do not see anything. It would be quite sad to see if they do not pick it up - imagine if anything happened to our Sarawakian relatives outside the country and the local newspapers just don't have any idea about it even if it has been published in the national newspaper and news. I have highligted Irene's case to our Yang Berhormat Encik Alexander Nanta Linggi, Member of Parliament for Kapit. I thank you YB Encik Alex's prompt response and he in turn will try to get in touch with Yang Berhormat Datuk Joseph Salang our Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. Let us hope get more news on what is being done to assist Ms Irene.
Update from 9 November 2007 New Sunday Times
Government Won't Intercede for Drug Mules held Abroad
Kuching: Do not expect the government to interfere - this is the reminder from Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum to women arrested overseas for drug related offeces. "At best we will send a lawyer or representative from our foreign mission to see that the trial is fair. Other than that, we will not interfere. The reason is that Malaysia has stiffer penalties for drug related offences", he said when asked to comment on the case of 22 year old Irene Manggie of Sarawak, who was arrested and charged in Sao Paolo for possession of cocaine.
She has been in prison for the last five months pending trial. Salang said Malaysian women should know better than carry bags to foreign countries given by people they had just befriended. "All they need to do is to open the bags to check the contents. If the contents are drugs, they should refuse to carry them." However he said in most cases the women knew what they were doing. He said they were prepared to carry the drugs because of the uge financial rewards. He said some of them did not even inform the Malaysian embassy when they were arrested. Salang said two other women from Sarawak had also been arrested in Argentina (where the case is pending) and in Japan (where the appeal is pending).
*My comment: Nadai Name wish to thank the NST (Sunday) reporter, Mr. Sulok Tawie for the feedback. The statement by our Deputy Foreign Minister was much awaited by many who wish to know the status of Irene Manggi. We hope that she will be given a fair trial. The purpose of highlighting the case here is to play my part as a blogger. If what was stated in the news was to be taken ito account, the name of Irene Manggi won't appear in any website in the last five months until it is highlighted in the Tv3 news and subsequently the national media. But now at least Nadai Name would have done its part in creating awareness that this young Sarawakian lady is in Sao Paolo Brazil, hopefully in the best of health and state of mind. Her family in Sarawak would at least be informed on her status. The local media in the State can create awareness that the world is an evil place especially in the world of the International Drug trade. They care not if you are a little known person from Sarawak. I hope YB Datuk Joseph was misquoted as he seemed to imply that most of the women were actually already guilty before sentence was announced. And for not informing the Malaysian embassies overseas when anything happens to them, Sao Paolo is a large place. For someone who have never been overseas I doubt that I would know where the embassy is and what the procedures should be. Lets pray for Irene and also for the others who are currently in unfamiliar territory. They may have been duped into becoming drug mules - whether they are aware of it or not, but it does not mean we do not have a heart. She can be your sister or your little girl..... let's hope she gets a fair trial.