Free All Political Prisoners

Join the Campaign to Free All Political Prisoners in the Philippines through General, Unconditional and Omnibus Amnesty

Today there is an ongoing, protracted armed conflict in the Philippines with deep socio-economic and political roots. There is also much social discontent and political dissent that have been met with fascist repression by all governments since the U.S. granted the country its bogus independence. Thus, tramped-up charges, illegal arrests and detention, torture and unjust conviction on false political and/or criminal charges constitute continuing and blatant violation of the people's rights.

Political prisoners are those who are arrested, detained and imprisoned for acts in furtherance of their political beliefs. As a consequence, they are arbitrarily denied their liberty and due process of law.

They may be charged with political offenses such as rebellion, sedition and variations thereof.

But more often than not they are charged with criminal offenses in an effort to deny the political nature of their alleged offenses and to stigmatize them as plain criminals guilty of the most heinous crimes. Political prisoners are slapped with murder, multiple murder, frustrated murder, arson, kidnapping, robbery in band, illegal possession of firearms and others. These are all non-bailable offenses meant to keep the PPs incarcerated while court hearings proceeded at snail's pace.

There are among the PPs ordinary folk suspected of being members or supporters of the New People's Army (NPA), Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and other groups labelled as terrorist like the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and Jama'a Islamia (JI) just because they reside in communities militarized due to the government's counter-insurgency and anti-terrorism campaigns.

They are all victims of political repression and state terrorism which are the government's reaction to dissent, criticism, political activism and defense of human rights.

There are a total of 354 political prisoners (PPs) reported as of end June 2011. Majority were arrested under the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration, they being among the most determined in opposing the corrupt, repressive and puppet Arroyo regime. There are 27 who were arrested before Arroyo's time and 45 under Benigno Aquino III.

Political prisoners, their families, people's organizations, human rights organizations, lawyers' groups, legislators, as well as international human rights networks persist in their efforts to rectify the injustice against political prisoners and other victims of human rights violations. They demand freedom for all political prisoners.

We urge President Benigno Aquino III to declare a general, unconditional and omnibus amnesty for all political prisoners.

General means all political prisoners, or what the government refers to as alleged political offenders, who are covered by the effectivity of an Amnesty Proclamation, whether they are charged with political or criminal offenses.

Unconditional means no precondition is set before they can be released. They will not have to go through a tedious application process and will not be required to plead guilty or make any admissions. They only need to be covered by the definition and effectivity of the Proclamation. The operative act needed to effect their immediate release is their inclusion in a pre-screened list and acceptance of the General, Unconditional and Omnibus Amnesty Proclamation.

Omnibus means that all charges or offenses as defined in the Proclamation are covered by the amnesty.

 


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