Supplement to Newsletter
Edited by Eddie Fernandes,
 Printer Friendly Version

Edgar Fernandes
1. Joel D'Souza: A Kenya-Goan is slain in Turkey. Goa Today. Oct. 1998.
2. Lira Fernandes: Campaign Vigil Outside Malta House. Goa Now July 1999.
3. BBC News. 29 May 2001: Victim's family pin hopes on extradition.
4. National Civil Rights Movement - Edgar Fernandes
5. Leicester Mercury. 18 July 2003. Murder Suspect May Be Set Free By Turkish Court.
6. Photograph of the murder suspect. Mohamed Abdel Monem Abbas Aly
7 Murder suspect given bail. Times of Malta 2 Aug. 2003
8. Leicester Mercury, 8 August. MP in plea over murder suspect
9. Leicester Mercury 15 Sept 2003. Vaz to see "Justice Done"
10.BBC News. 8 Oct. 2003: Briton's killer to go free.
11. Other References

A Kenya-Goan is slain in Turkey
October, 1998
Edgar Fernandes
MP Keith Vaz with protestors at 10 Downing Street, London
Kenya-born Goan John Edgar Fernandes, who had flown to Turkey on holiday last Easter, was brutally murdered less than 48 hours after checking in at the Ugur Pension budget hotel in Istambul. Edgar’s body, with the head bashed, was found down the road from the hotel. The Turkish authorities left the body rotting in a morgue without making any attempt to identify it for over a month.
The 37-year-old Edgar, born in Meru in Kenya, studied at the Our Lady of Divar High School in Divar, Goa. He migrated to Leiscester in England in mid-1970’s and worked as a librarian at the Shoreditch Library in East London, where he had endeared himself to the reading public, particularly the old people, whom he helped throughout his 12-year tenure.

When Edgar didn’t return after his short holiday on April 15 as scheduled, his sister Fatima suspected a health problem as he was born with a hole in the heart. Fatima immediately telephoned her sisters Genny and Maria, brothers Mario and Mathias, cousin Tony Fernandes and Edgar’s girlfriend Evelyn Teichmann.

When they contacted the Ugur Pension, the staff there pretended that they had never heard of Edgar Fernandes. The Kentish Town police they approached, proved equally ‘obstructive, abusive and insensitive’, as Edgar’s brother Mathias told a UK daily on 15th May ’98. Edgar’s brother and brother-in-law then caught a Turkish Airlines flight to Istambul. Here they realised that the Turkish missing persons’ bureau hadn’t yet stirred to investigate Edgar’s whereabouts despite being intimated by Interpol, according to Tony Fernandes in the Sunday Times.

Ten days after he was last seen, Interpol discovered that Edgar’s Barclay credit card was being freely used for purchases in Bulgaria, Greece and Malta. His family topped the funds to track the credit card movement and faxed the details to the Malta police. The Times, Malta, reported that on May 11, 1998, the Malta police managed to track down and nab a 27-year-old Egyptian Mohamed Abdel Monem Abbas Aly who was operating the stolen card.

On the other hand, for a fortnight, Mathias frantically searched for any trace of Edgar in Turkish hospitals, prisons and mortuaries. On Interpol’s intercession, the search party was permitted to leaf through a massive file of photographs ‘of decaying and garroted bodies’ in the morgue.

According to The Guardian (UK), ‘On May 7th 1998, Tony Fernandes was asked by Istambul police to identify the photographs of a body found on April 10 in the Sea of Marmara.’

Edgar’s boss Chris Broadhead, who had flown from London, suddenly noticed a photograph showing a part of gold chain with a cross on the head of the corpse. The gold chain and Sekonda watch helped identify Edgar’s body, which ‘was lying on top of badly decomposing bodies stuck together and crawling with maggots in the mortuary tray’.

Presumably, Edgar was killed for his passport, because Istambul being a gateway to the European Union for Asian, Middle East and African refugees, passports of British Asians (which can be easily forged) fetch as much as $1000 apiece. Ironically, the British Foreign Office is oblivious to the appalling fact even though 174 British tourists have vanished in thin air while in Turkey so far. Perhaps the colour of the skin of the missing Asians ain’t so bright as to merit cognizance by Great Britian’s government.

Goans in London along with Labour MP Keith Vaz released 174 black balloons to mark the memory of the 174 lives lost in Turkey and to highlight the plight of the grief-stricken families. "This is an act of appalling cruelty", the Eastern Eye, London quoted MP Keith Vaz as having said. He and Senior Cabinet Minister Frank Dobson, Edgar’s local MP, are trying hard to cut the thick ice of official lethargy. They have already taken the campaign to Prime Minister Tony Blair’s office, demanding to bring Edgar’s murderer to justice.

Lui Godinho informs from London that, "the crime has been covered by the media in the UK, North America and Australia. Even the TV and radio stations have been following the story avidly. Turkish authorities are also seeking the alleged murderer’s extradition from Malta to try him for this dastardly crime."

The alleged assassin Mohammed Aly, who was arraigned in Malta, has already confessed to killing Edgar. But he claims that he only acted in self-defence.

Campaign Vigil Outside Malta House
By Lira Fernandes
July, 1999
Relatives, friends and well wishers of the late Edgar Fernandes observed a visit outside the Malta House in Piccadilly, London, on July 7, 1999. Some of the family and friends who were organising the event provided us with leaflets, banners and photographs of Edgar Fernandes-- the subject of our protest.
Lira Fernandes

Edgar had been on holiday to Istanbul at Easter 1998 when, almost on arrival, he was murdered for his passport. There is a very lucrative trade in passports formerly belonging to Britons of Asian origin. The murderer, an Egyptian, was finally tracked to Malta but so far pleas for his extradition have been turned down by the Maltese Government.

We were about 40 in all-- Edgar's relatives, friends and ex-colleagues from Hackney libraries. He was obviously a much-loved young man. We chanted slogans intermittently as well as held up banners and handed out leaflets to interested passers-by. The embassy entrance was manned by a couple of cops. As Goanetter Aires Rodrigues cannily remarked, usually there's a posse of the boys in blue at demos but obviously the Goan ‘susegad’ reputation had preceded us and it was deemed necessary to have only two amiable ones! Amongst the passers-by I spotted Alexander Walker, film critic of London's Evening Standard newspaper, who was very interested and sympathetic.

We continued in our very dignified chanting until six o'clock when the media zoomed in. There was a small team from television's "London Tonight" programme who filmed our protest live for the six o'clock news. Meanwhile, Genny, Edgar's sister filled us in on what she had been trying to achieve inside the embassy.

We could not all go in so Genny tackled the High Commissioner. They were all clearly discomfited and even quite angry at our demonstration outside their premises as we were giving them a bad name. Genny got no satisfactory answers from them; they claimed that they encountered difficulties in proceeding with the case and could do nothing to help or expedite matters. At one stage, the High Commissioner was even shouting at Genny but she threatened to walk out if he did not calm down.

Interestingly, they conceded that had the victim’s been Tony Blair's son, the British government would undoubtedly have got things moving long ago and brought pressure to bear on the Maltese government. Edgar's life is no less precious!

One bit of good news that Genny imparted was that Edgar's case is going to be taken up by no less a person than Imran Khan--not the cricketer but the lawyer with dogged determination in the now famous Stephen Lawrence case. ( see: slmain.htm) This has apparently created waves. Previously when Genny tried to get some response or communication from the Metropolitan Police Chief, Sir Paul Condon or Foreign Secretary Robin Cook were evasive but now that Imran Khan is on the case Sir Paul Condon and Robin Cook have already asked to meet the family.

After the television crew had finished, we had a little confab and decided that we would try and embarrass the Maltese Government with the same performance on the first Wednesday of each month--same time, same place--until we had satisfactory results. So all of you, who did not make it today and can support us in future, make a note in your diaries please.

Victim's family pin hopes on extradition
Tuesday, 29 May, 2001
Last year campaigners picketed the Maltese High Commission
Genny Fernandes

The family of a Briton murdered while on holiday in Istanbul three years ago believe that a suspect has come one step closer to appearing in court.
Edgar Fernandes, a 37-year-old librarian from Hackney, east London, disappeared while on holiday in Turkey in April 1998.

His alleged killer, Mohammed Abdul Abbas Aly, was arrested in Malta several months later after being found in possession of Mr Fernades' passport and credit card.

Interpol had traced him using credit card records.

Mr Abbas Aly initially confessed to the murder, but later retracted his confession.

Turkish police asked for Mr Abbas Aly, who is Egyptian, to be extradited to Istanbul but the Maltese authorities declined because Turkey still has the death penalty as the ultimate sentence for murder.

Turkey has had a moratorium on executions for the last 18 years but the Maltese authorities still refused to extradite Mr Abbas Aly.

The impasse lasted for several months and the Fernandes family feared at one point that Mr Abbas Aly would be freed and allowed to return home to Egypt.

But Mr Fernandes' sister, Genny, told BBC News Online she had been informed, within the last few days, that the Maltese authorities had received an assurance from the Turks that Mr Abbas Aly would not be executed if found guilty of murder.

A final decision on extradition will be made by a judge in the Maltese capital, Valletta, on 6 June.

Ms Fernandes said: "We are hoping the judge will decide that the extradition can take place and that will be a huge hurdle we have jumped."

She said she understood that once extradited, Mr Abbas Aly - who was convicted of passport and credit card fraud in relation to Mr Fernandes' documents - may go on trial in Istanbul within

Ms Fernandes welcomed the latest turn of events and stressed that she had never sought the death penalty in the event of someone being convicted of killing her brother.

"I have always been opposed to the death penalty. All I ever wanted was justice," she said.

The death penalty is a sensitive matter in Turkey.

In 1999 Kurdish guerrilla leader Abdullah Ocalan was sentenced to death in 1999 after being extradited from Italy.

Politicians inside Turkey continue to argue over whether to carry out the execution in view of pressure from the European Union, which is opposed to the death sentence.

Edgar Fernandes
Source:National Civil Rights Movement. at
Edgar Fernandes was a librarian living in Hackney, east London. He left for a week's holiday in Turkey on 8 April 1998.
When he failed to return, his family alerted the local police in Kentish Town. The police officer suspected that he had run away from the family and tried to probe into the family's history.
Frustrated, they approached the foreign office who contacted the consulate in Istanbul and informed them that any further action would need to be taken by the police. As the family was now unable to rely upon any authority to assist them they were now forced to mount their own investigation.
Two members of the family flew to Turkey while others remained in London to exert pressure there. Although the Turkish authorities were unhelpful, within days the family had located Edgar's belongings and medication in the hotel room and had a description of the person who was last seen with Edgar. This was immediately reported to Kentish Town police station, who still maintained that Edgar must have run away from home.

Meanwhile the traumatic search for Edgar continued. They researched all the hospitals and institutions in Turkey. On 8 May 1998 two members of the family were looking at pictures of dead bodies in the morgue. Depressingly one of the photographs was of Edgar's body.

The family continued with their investigation and located the chief suspect in Malta. In an impressive and unprecedented feat they managed to galvanise the Maltese authorities to arrest the man. He initially confessed to the murder of Edgar Fernandes, though later changed his story. After the family approached the NCRM, the Metropolitan Police began to work more seriously on the case. The trial of the man suspected of killing Edgar began in Turkey in February 2000.

Thursday 17, July 2003
A man accused of murdering Leicester holidaymaker Edgar Fernandes five years ago could walk free from court - even if he is found guilty.

Mr Fernandes, a 27-year-old librarian who grew up in the Spinney Hills area of the city, was robbed and killed in Turkey in 1998. Egyptian national Mohamed Aly Abbas, who has already been convicted of using Mr Fernandes' credit card and passport, is on trial for his murder.

The Fernandes family fear the suspect could walk free under a Turkish amnesty law.

The case had been expected to conclude today, but was adjourned until July 31, a Foreign Office spokeswoman said.

The family, together with a campaign group - Justice for Britons Murdered Abroad - fear Abbas could be freed on the day he is convicted because of the time he has already spent in custody awaiting trial for murder and part of the three-year sentence imposed for credit card fraud.

Mathias Fernandes, Edgar's 32-year-old brother, said: "If the suspected murderer is convicted and walks free, that would be a nightmare for our family."

Edgar's sister, Genny Fernandes, said: "We've had to put our grief on hold for five years in our pursuit of justice for Edgar - that justice could be denied to us now."

Krishna Maharaj, chairman of Justice for Britons Murdered Abroad, said: "It is outrageous if convicted murderers are released on the same day the verdict is announced.

"What does this say about the justice system in Turkey?''

The Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "Our consular officials have regularly been attending court hearings in this case.

"Any sentence that is passed is a matter for the Turkish authorities and we cannot interfere in their judicial system.

"We will be in contact with the family as soon as we know more."

Photograph of the murder suspect. Mohamed Abdel Monem Abbas Aly
Police officers escort the morder suspect, Mohamed Abdel Monem Abbas Aly (Centre), into the Maltese Law Courts in Valletta.

Abbas Aly given bail, court to give judgment in October
BY Sharon Spiteri
Saturday 02, August 2003
A Turkish court has granted unconditional bail to a man charged with the murder of a British librarian, two months before it hands down judgment and five years after the defendant was apprehended in Malta and extradited for the crime.

Mohammed Abdel Monem Abbas Aly was granted unconditional bail by a Turkish court on Thursday and the family of Edgar Fernandes are extremely concerned that he might try to escape again.

"The next sitting is on October 8, when the court is expected to deliver its verdict. He is widely expected to be convicted but we're now afraid he might not attend the hearing on October 8 because he would have left the country. Abbas Aly has a track record of fleeing the country..." Fernandes's sister Genny said.

Ms Fernandes was referring to the time right after the killing when Abbas Aly was arrested in Malta at Interpol's request after he went on the run in Turkey just as Edgar Fernandes, 37, vanished on the second night of a week's holiday in Istanbul on April 9, 1998.

Relatives found Fernandes' body in a morgue following an intensive three-week search. It had been lying there since it was washed up from the Bosphorus two days after Fernandes went missing.

An autopsy showed that Fernandes, a librarian, died as a result of a severe blow to the head by a blunt object, possibly a bat or a baton.

After preliminary investigations in Turkey, Abbas Aly, 30, was put on Interpol's wanted list and was detained in Malta after a credit card sting set up by local police on a tip by their British counterparts.

He was held without bail on a passport forgery charge and a credit card fraud charge and was convicted of both and jailed for two years for the forgery and three years for the fraud.

He appealed from the judgment but let the appeal lapse.

Meanwhile, Turkey sent in a formal request for his extradition days before he was due to be deported to Egypt and the local authorities decided to extradite him on September 7, 2001, after receiving an assurance that Turkey would not impose the death penalty if Abbas Aly was convicted of the murder.

The Extradition Act lays down that a request can be rejected if made by a country which, like Turkey, has the death penalty on its statute books.

Ms Fernandes yesterday said the family was gutted to learn the news that Abbas Aly was free after just one and a half years in custody in Turkey.

"The prosecutor summarised the salient points and stated there was evidence that Abbas Aly was involved in the murder. He is recommending a conviction but has also announced that the defendant should be conditionally discharged, even if convicted.

"The only consolation for us is that the Maltese police did a great job in securing a conviction in relation to the credit card fraud and the passport forgery. He has now therefore served a longer time in prison for those crimes than in Turkey," Ms Fernandes said.

"We are very grateful to Commissioner (John) Rizzo and Inspector (Noel) Cutajar and the whole team. Without their support and assistance, he would have been a free man a long time ago.

"My family is eternally grateful to the Maltese police for providing a great service and for playing their part in making the world a safer place for all of us."

Ms Fernandes, who has never lost her acerbic wit despite her family's five-year battle for justice, which saw them flying to Turkey and to Malta to put pressure on the Mediterranean governments, had a last pertinent remark to make.

"Your Attorney General and Justice Minister were very concerned about preserving (Abbas Aly's) life and making sure that he did not face the death penalty. They got so much more than they bargained for. He has been set free even before a verdict has been handed down!"

MP in plea over murder suspect
Source: Leicester Mercury, 8 August.
Keith Vaz MP today called on the Foreign Office to ensure a man accused of murdering Leicester holidaymaker Edgar Fernandes does not flee justice.

Mr Fernandes, a 27-year-old librarian who grew up in the Spinney Hills area of the city, was robbed and killed in Turkey in 1998.

A Turkish court is expected to rule in October whether Egyptian national Mohamed Aly Abbas - who has already been convicted of using Mr Fernandes' credit card and passport - is guilty of murder. Abbas was released without bail conditions last month when the trial was halted while a new panel of judges is selected.

Leicester East MP Mr Vaz fears the suspect could flee the country before he is due to return to court in October.

Mr Vaz said: "It would be a denial of justice after so many years of hard work by the family if this man escaped.''

Mr Vaz is arranging a meeting with Foreign Office ministers. He also intends to fly to Turkey with the family to lobby the authorities in the next few weeks.

Mr Vaz has called on Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to press Turkish authorities to ensure Abbas remains in Turkey to face trial.

Edgar's sister, Genny Fernandes, said: "We've had to put our grief on hold for five years in our pursuit of justice for Edgar - that justice could be denied to us now."

The Foreign Office said its consular staff in Turkey were continuing to monitor the case.

Source: Leicester Mercury, 15 September 2003.

Leicester MP Keith Vaz is going to Turkey next month to try to ensure a family gets justice for the their dead son.

Edgar Fernandes was killed while on holiday in Istanbul, in April 1998.

It took his family, who live in Leicester, several years to trace the man suspected of killing him.

Mohammed Abbas Aly, who is accused of the killing, is to hear the verdict of a Turkish court on October 8.

Edgar's brother, Mathias, 35, who grew up in Leicester and now lives in London, traced Aly to Malta, but had to battle with authorities to get him extradited to Turkey to stand trial.

Leicester East MP Mr Vaz submitted a Parliamentary Early Day Motion earlier this week calling on the Foreign Office to do "everything in its power to urge the Turkish authorities to make sure that a proper verdict is returned" on October 8.

Mr Vaz, who helped the family in their struggle for justice, is now hoping that by going to Istanbul for the hearing, his presence will make sure the Turkish authorities will return the right verdict.

The MP said: "It is essential that, after five years of struggle, the family will see justice in this enormously tragic case.

"It is not usual for MPs to do this, but I am going to Istanbul for myself, as it is the only way to keep an eye on justice.

"Five years ago, it was impossible to predict that there was ever going to be a trial and it would be unfortunate to see this opportunity lost."

According to the post mortem examination, Mr Fernandes had been hit over the head with a policeman's truncheon.

His body was found dumped in the Bosphorus and his credit card and passport had been stolen.

His brother traced the passport to Bulgaria and the card to Malta.

The family continued to supply the card with cash until the suspect, who was using, it could be arrested.

Abbas Aly appeared in court on July 31 this year but, instead of receiving a sentence, he was released on unconditional bail pending the further hearing next month.

Mr Fernandes's family said they were disgusted Abbas Aly had been released and feared he would flee the country rather than turn up for the verdict.

Mathias said it would come as a massive relief if the man he believes killed his brother was finally sent to prison.

Speaking on behalf of the family, who now live in Gwendolen Road, Leicester, he said: "It has been a struggle all the way.

"From getting him extradited to ensuring justice has been one hurdle after another.

"My family feel they will now see justice."

Wednesday, 8 October, 2003
An Egyptian man has been sentenced to more than 16 years in prison for killing a British man in Turkey but will not serve any of his sentence.
The family of Edgar Fernandes has reacted angrily to the news and blamed the British Government for its lack of support.

Mr Fernandes, 37, from Camden, east London, died when he suffered head injuries a day after arriving in Istanbul for a holiday in 1998.

But his killer Mohammed Abdel Monem Abbas Aly has been deported back to Egypt and will not be extradited or have to carry out his sentence in his home country.

The librarian's body was dumped in the Bosphorus and remained undiscovered for a month, as his family in Leicester searched for news of his whereabouts.

Death penalty

Aly had already been convicted of Mr Fernandes' manslaughter but he was deported back to Egypt after the guilty verdict in July.

After sentencing him to 16 years 11 months and 10 days on Wednesday, the Turkish judge could have put pressure on the Egyptian authorities to extradite him or make him serve the sentence there.

But he did neither and lawyers for Mr Fernandes say there is little they can do now.

Mr Fernandes' sister Genny told BBC News Online the family blamed the government for its lack of support.

She said: "If we had the backing of the British Government, it would have been different.

"Had the Foreign Office supported us robustly, the Turkish authorities would have taken the case seriously."

Ms Fernandes is calling on the Foreign Office to put pressure on the authorities in Turkey and Egypt to "make sure there is justice".

"The Egyptian authorities have a right to be very concerned about a convicted killer roaming the streets of Cairo."

The Fernandes family and Leicester East MP Keith Vaz fought a lengthy campaign to trace Aly and bring him to trial after he fled to Malta in 1998.

But Maltese authorities refused his extradition to Turkey until 2001 because of fears that he could face the death penalty.

The court was told that Aly confessed to Maltese police that he had pushed Mr Fernandes into the sea and thrown a stone at his head, after his victim made a sexual advance towards him.

But the suspect later retracted his statement saying he had been misunderstood because of problems with translation.

Mr Fernandes' family say they initially got little help from Turkish police when he went missing.

After his body was found it lay unidentified in an Istanbul morgue for a month.

They had visited the morgue three times but were never shown the right body.

The family's efforts to find Mr Fernandes had included travelling to Istanbul where they found his luggage still in the hotel where he had been staying.

Ms Fernandes told BBC News Online: "We had to do all ourselves.

"We found the killer, got him extradited into the hands of the court - but even then we could not rely on the court to imprison him.

"Although he has been convicted, he is a free man.

"We feel totally cheated of justice."

Mr Fernandes' brother Matthias who travelled to Wednesday's hearing with Mr Vaz, told BBC News: "We are devastated.

"We thought at long last justice would be done."

The 35-year-old added: "We will have to live with this for the rest of our lives."

Last month, Mr Vaz tabled an Early Day Motion, backed by 46 MPs, condemning the handling of the affair by Turkish authorities.

A few of the many other references

1. UK Parliament: 18 May 1998:

2. Hurriyet. 21 May 1998,

3. UK Parliament: 16 Jul. 1998: Adjournment Debate.

4. Malta Independent. 2 Oct. 2002. Justice for Edgar.

5.Prof John Buontempo website (Photograph of the Fernandes family in Malta).


Goan Voice designed by Goacom Insys Pvt. Ltd., Goa
and funded by donations from the world-wide Goan Community.