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Free political prisoners, gov’t urged

A rights group reiterated yesterday it call on the Department of Justice (DoJ) to free political prisoners.

Women’s rights advocate Gabriela made the call following a favorable DoJ ruling which dismissed the charges of kidnapping and serious illegal detention against 15 human rights advocates accused of holding 700 lumads at the Haran Evacuation Center of the United Church of Christ of the Philippines (UCCP) in Davao City.

After clearing the so-called “Haran 15” of criminal charges, Gabriela secretary general Joms Salvador expressed hope the DOJ “set as priority and fast-track the process the release of political prisoners, especially since most of these cases are trumped up and evidences are usually planted.”

Members of the Gabriela gathered at the DoJ to show how urgent is the need to free political prisoners.

Salvador assured that their action is “not a protest but an urgent call of the women for the DoJ to take notice the plight of the victims of injustice.”

She hopes that the political prisoners be released before the resumption of formal peace talks with the National Democratic Front (NDF) this August.

Last July 18, the DoJ issued a resolution which granted the motion for reconsideration of the Haran 15 and reversed the resolution of former Justice Secretary Emmanuel Caparas who found probable cause to indict them with kidnapping and serious illegal detention. (Jeffrey Damicog)

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