Joel D'Souza: A Kenya-Goan is slain in Turkey. Goa Today.
Lira Fernandes: Campaign Vigil Outside Malta House.
Goa Now July 1999.
BBC News. 29 May 2001: Victim's family pin hopes on
National Civil Rights Movement - Edgar Fernandes
Leicester Mercury. 18 July 2003. Murder Suspect May
Be Set Free By Turkish Court.
Photograph of the murder suspect. Mohamed Abdel Monem
Murder suspect given bail. Times of Malta 2 Aug. 2003
Leicester Mercury, 8 August. MP in plea over murder
Leicester Mercury 15
Sept 2003. Vaz to see "Justice Done"
Kenya-Goan is slain in Turkey
Keith Vaz with protestors at 10 Downing Street, London
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.’
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’.
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.
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.
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."
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.
Vigil Outside Malta House
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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: http://www.blink.org.uk/campaign/stevelaw/
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.
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.
family pin hopes on extradition
29 May, 2001
year campaigners picketed the Maltese High Commission
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
SUSPECT MAY BE SET FREE BY TURKISH COURT
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.
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.
Fernandes family fear the suspect could walk free under
a Turkish amnesty law.
case had been expected to conclude today, but was adjourned
until July 31, a Foreign Office spokeswoman said.
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.
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."
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."
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.
does this say about the justice system in Turkey?''
Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "Our consular officials
have regularly been attending court hearings in this case.
sentence that is passed is a matter for the Turkish authorities
and we cannot interfere in their judicial system.
will be in contact with the family as soon as we know more."
of the murder suspect. Mohamed Abdel Monem Abbas Aly
officers escort the morder suspect, Mohamed Abdel Monem
Abbas Aly (Centre), into the Maltese Law Courts in Valletta.
Aly given bail, court to give judgment in October
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
appealed from the judgment but let the appeal lapse.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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."
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.
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!"
in plea over murder suspect
Leicester Mercury, 8 August.
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
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
Office said its consular staff in Turkey were continuing
to monitor the case.
TO SEE 'JUSTICE DONE'
Leicester Mercury, 15 September 2003.
MP Keith Vaz is going to Turkey next month to try to ensure
a family gets justice for the their dead son.
Fernandes was killed while on holiday in Istanbul, in April
took his family, who live in Leicester, several years to
trace the man suspected of killing him.
Abbas Aly, who is accused of the killing, is to hear the
verdict of a Turkish court on October 8.
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.
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.
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.
MP said: "It is essential that, after five years of
struggle, the family will see justice in this enormously
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.
years ago, it was impossible to predict that there was ever
going to be a trial and it would be unfortunate to see this
to the post mortem examination, Mr Fernandes had been hit
over the head with a policeman's truncheon.
body was found dumped in the Bosphorus and his credit card
and passport had been stolen.
brother traced the passport to Bulgaria and the card to
family continued to supply the card with cash until the
suspect, who was using, it could be arrested.
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.
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.
said it would come as a massive relief if the man he believes
killed his brother was finally sent to prison.
on behalf of the family, who now live in Gwendolen Road,
Leicester, he said: "It has been a struggle all the
getting him extradited to ensuring justice has been one
hurdle after another.
family feel they will now see justice."
few of the many other references
UK Parliament: 18 May 1998:
Hurriyet. 21 May 1998,
UK Parliament: 16 Jul. 1998: Adjournment Debate.
Malta Independent. 2 Oct. 2002. Justice for Edgar.
John Buontempo website (Photograph of the Fernandes family
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