Human rights group Karapatan called for the release of the six New People’s Army rebels it claimed to be young peasant organizers, who have been languishing in jail for more than a month, after their capture on March 3 in Mabinay, Negros Oriental.
Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said “The illegal arrest and continuing detention of the six young peasant organizers in Negros Oriental based on trumped-up charges filed by soldiers is a classic case of criminalization of political dissent and human rights activism”.
Palabay insisted that the six are organizers of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas in Mabinay, Negros Oriental.
The arrest of six communist rebels as reported by the Philippine Army yielded six high-powered firearms and explosives. But the paraffin tests on them yielded negative results of gunpowder nitrates.
Palabay said in a statement that no encounter had taken place, and the recovered firearms were planted. Her claims and that of other progressive organizations were, however, debunked by the military.
“There is absolutely no proof that these arms were in the possession of the six individuals,” she said.
Palabay added that the use of labels such as “communists,” “NPAs,” “terrorists,” or “drug users” against individuals and communities are meant to justify the persecution of targeted persons and groups,” and that most of the 486 political prisoners are charged with the same non-bailable offense to keep them in jail.
“This malicious and despicable practice of State security forces of filing fabricated charges against activists should stop,” she said.*GPB
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