Jolo church blast suspect Kammar innocent, tortured to admit crime–lawyer
ZAMBOANGA CITY — Mukammar Pae turned himself in to clear his name, not to surrender to authorities for a crime he did not commit, his lawyer said on Thursday.
Lawyer Meltoni Sibulan said police tortured his client and forced him to admit to the twin bombings of the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Cathedral in Jolo, Sulu province, on Jan. 27.
The Philippine National Police presented “innocent civilians,” Sibulan said, referring to Pae and three other men, to make the public believe that the Jolo bombing was a closed case.
“The government is presenting innocent civilians who are working hard for a living as tree cutters and lumberyard workers. The [police] committed illegal arrest,” he said.
On Jan. 31, Pae, 45, who is known in Barangay Anuling as Kammar, sought the help of his son’s friend, an Army soldier assigned at Camp Bud Datu in Indanan town, to clear his name, according to Sibulan.
Pae was taken into custody by the military, but was turned over the next day to Senior Supt. Pablo Labra II, the provincial police director of Sulu, he said.
‘Just turned over’
A document, Sibulan said, certified that the military had “turned over the living body of Mukammar to PD Labra. He was not arrested, just turned over.”
“Upon turnover to the police, Pae was immediately arrested, tortured and detained. The military didn’t touch him, but the police tortured him and forced him to admit to a crime he never committed,” he added.
“Pae was beaten, his head was submerged in water and he was subjected to waterboarding,” Sibulan said of the torture that involves placing a towel over a detainee’s face and pouring water on the towel until it dripped into his mouth and nostrils, evoking the feeling of drowning.
The lawyer said his three other clients were “arrested, without any warrant” on the night of Feb. 1, when members of the PNP’s 52nd Special Action Force barged into the houses of Albaji Gadjali, who was sleeping with his son Kaisar, and Rajan Gadjali.
Col. Gerry Besana, the public affairs officer of the military’s Western Mindanao Command, had earlier described the main suspect behind the Jolo blasts to be in his early 20s.
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