A call to seek justice for Adelina - FreedomUnited.org

A call to seek justice for Adelina

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Adelina Lisao’s case has captured the attention of many across the world. Adelina was a young Indonesian domestic worker who passed away on February 11, 2018 due to organ failure as a result of allegedly suffering physical and emotional abuse and forced labor at the hands of her employers in a private home for two years.

Adelina was found with a swollen face, bruises all over her body and pus-filled wounds, a result of the burns on her arms and legs. Due to the extent of her injuries which were left untreated, her employers forced her to sleep outside in the compound with the dog to prevent “dirtying the home” from her weeping wounds.

By the time Adelina was admitted to hospital, it was evident that she was on borrowed time and she passed away only a day after she was rescued.

The High Court, evoking Section 254(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code, acquitted Adelina’s employer, Ambika MA Shan, on grounds of health concerns and lack of evidence despite the deputy Public Prosecutor’s request for a discharge not amounting to acquittal.

A year later, the bench in the Court of Appeal affirmed the decision put forth by the High Court, claiming that the decision was not erroneous. This decision was a regressive step for the Malaysian justice system – it conveyed a severely harmful message condoning heinous acts of abuse and exploitation. The climate of impunity afforded to those undeserving of it must be put to an end.

This petition calls for Federal Court to reverse the acquittal of Adelina’s former employer. This is Malaysia’s chance to show that it will hold abusers accountable and ensure justice for Adelina and her family.

A person is dead and her blood is on all our hands. Allowing for perpetrators such as Ambika to walk free makes us all complicit in the death of Adelina and many others who shared the same fate.

Adelina’s life is the sad reality of thousands more domestic workers who are susceptible to all forms of exploitation, and it is high time that we make an effort to increase protection for all domestic workers.

We hope that you will join us in seeking justice as we believe that we owe it to Adelina and her family to protect her dignity in her absence.

Signing this petition is a step forward in preserving the integrity of our justice system and ensuring that it provides protection due to all and especially the marginalized and vulnerable.

  • June 23, 2022: Malaysia’s top court has affirmed the murder acquittal of Adelina’s employer, largely over legal missteps by the prosecution. We believe the Malaysian prosecution has failed, and unfortunately, this means we continue to cultivate a culture of impunity for perpetrators among employers of domestic workers. Today’s impunity is tomorrow’s crime. We and our partner Tenaganita will continue to seek justice for Adelina. More details on the Federal Court ruling.


  • June 21, 2022: Malaysia’s Federal Court is slated to decide in just two days if it will reverse the murder acquittal for Adelina’s former employer. We and our partner Tenaganita have just delivered all 12,816 petition signatures to the Chief Justice of Malaysia, The Right Honourable Tun Tengku Maimun binti Tuan Mat, ahead of the hearing, reiterating our call for justice for Adelina.


  • September 25, 2020: The Attorney General’s Chambers has given 14 days for an appeal to be filed against the decision of the Court of Appeal. Please support this petition as a sign of protest against a system which has unjustly penalized and denied domestic workers of their fundamental liberties.

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emilie dornaus
emilie dornaus
3 years ago

This acquittal is so wrong and destroy my faith in the Malaysian Legal System!!! I will have to think twice before going on holidays in Malaysia I!!

Anne Mullane
Anne Mullane
3 years ago

How terribly, terribly sad! The decisions of Malaysia’s courts defy logic. This poor girl and her family must have justice though her agony, misery and hopelessness will never be redeemed. How completely alone she must have felt! Shame on the horrific actions of the employer – SHAME! They must be punished and seen to be punished!

Peacock Louise
Peacock Louise
3 years ago

Sad and disgusting as this is, I know it is common for employers in these countries (and here in north America) to inflict abuse on their employees.

This is a cultural outlook. Servants are regarded basically as slaves, and have no rights in the eyes of their abusive employers. I know for a fact that this sort of thing has happened right here in Canada.

This attitude cannot and should not be tolerated.

This employer needs to be punished. The Malaysian courts are a travesty.

3 years ago


Luzia Soares
3 years ago

It is just the way some people do thinking that they are untouchable. They are not. Justice for Adelina and anyone like her that suffers the arrogance of some people, will come surely, by the hands of God and by the hands of the men! Nobody get6s away wsith abuse of vulnerable people or any creature.

This Campaign made an impact with 12,851 supporters!

Please read our field report with summary and outcome


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