5 US senators: Free De Lima
MANILA, Philippines — Five United States senators have introduced a resolution that condemned the Philippine government for the continued detention of opposition Sen. Leila de Lima and called for her release.
The resolution, dated April 4, also sought the dropping of all charges filed against Rappler and its chief Maria Ressa and condemned the “harassment, arrest, and unjustified judicial proceedings against the media and journalists.”
It likewise condemned the Philippine government for its role in “state-sanctioned extrajudicial killings by police and other armed individuals as part of the ‘War on Drugs’”; and for the arrest of human rights defenders and political leaders for exercising their right to freedom of expression.
Trumped-up drug charges
It comes less than a month after US representatives introduced a resolution that also urged the Philippine government to free De Lima, a vocal critic of President Duterte.
She has been detained for two years on drug charges she considers trumped up.
The latest resolution was sponsored by Senators Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Marco Rubio of Florida, Richard Durbin of Illinois, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, and Christopher Coons of Delaware.
The resolution stated that De Lima is considered “a prisoner of conscience, detained solely on account of her political views and the legitimate exercise of her freedom of expression.”
It called on the Philippine government to “immediately release Senator De Lima, drop all charges against her, remove restrictions on her personal and work conditions, and allow her to fully discharge her legislative mandate, especially as Chair of the Committee on Social Justice.”
Moreover, it urged the government to recognize the importance of human rights defenders.
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